Josh Nove (1973-1997)

Josh Nove looking down at his hands, working with something.

About Josh Nove (1973-1997)


Joshua “Josh” Nove was born on August 8, 1973, in Ipswich, Massachusetts. From the early age of three, Nove took particular interest in birds and became a lifelong birder. He regularly participated in his hometown’s annual Christmas bird count and studied migratory shore birds at Crane’s Beach as a volunteer. Starting in 1991, Nove worked as an intern every summer for the nonprofit organization Quebec Labrador Foundation, where he helped preserve the wildlife and the integrity of the local culture in Eastern Quebec. In 1995, he graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned membership into Sigma Xi. Afterwards, Josh worked as a research assistant on a number of ornithological projects in Belize, Alabama, Louisiana, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Alaska before beginning to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). Nove served as a volunteer intern at the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, starting in April 1997. In this role, he assisted with migratory bird banding and migration studies at Mother Goose Lake.

Cause of Death

On July 3, 1997, Nove disappeared in Mother Goose Lake in the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge. In the evening, Nove had been working with a group of Service members and volunteers to band birds when he spotted two mew gull chicks swimming in shallow water in a marshy delta on the east side of the lake. He entered the ankle-deep water in pursuit of the chicks. However, Nove did not notice the sudden drop-off into deeper water. He was unable to stay above water, and water filled his partially rolled-down hip waders, causing him to quickly disappear from view. Service members immediately attempted rescue him by boat as well as on foot, but they were unable to find him. Alaska State Troopers and a Service dive team also participated in rescue efforts. However, glacial silt laden waters with zero visibility greatly hampered search efforts, and they were unable to find Nove’s body.


Key Fields

Born 1973, Died 1997, Age 23, Male, Volunteer, Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, Drowning