About Richard Peek
Meet Richard Peek, Animal Butler!
Richard is a park ranger, working at the Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery, Arkansas.
How would you describe your conservation work to someone you just met?
I view my conservation work as the attention getter. There are so many conservation programs in the world that I feel it is my job to grab the public’s interest, teach them, guide them to other resources to learn more, and show them the exciting changes they can make at home that will make great changes.
Do you have a memorable moment on the job?
When I got my first temporary job in Michigan sampling invasive sea lampreys around the Great Lakes. I was walking six miles upstream, in water, with a heavy backpack shocker on. I was tired but instead of looking at this negatively, I looked around at the nature that surrounded me. There was no indication of human activity, and I was just in awe that this is my job. I am not stuck in a boring building dealing with meaningless tasks. This was the point that I realized I could choose to be miserable or I could decide to enjoy the moment, and I knew I made the right choice for my career.
What does conservation mean to you?
Conservation is not just making sure this resource is not wiped out, but that every stakeholder’s voice is heard, including those without one.
Most enjoyable aspect of your work.
Getting to do things for animals, whether it be feeding, cleaning, or data entry, I love it. I know that even if it is a trout that is destined to be caught by a line and hook, that what I am doing is giving it the best life I can while I have it in my care.
What is your favorite aquatic species?
Sharks of all kinds, these animals are an apex predator that are an amazing, terrifying, and mysterious burrito wrapped up in wow and drizzled with awesome sauce.
Did you have a fish or conservation "ah-ha!" moment?
Honestly, growing up I wanted to get into a career in SCUBA diving and that was what led me to sign up for the Coast Guard. It wasn’t until I was out of the Coast Guard, I found that the Fish and Wildlife was an actual career choice for me. So, I went to a state hatchery near me and asked, “What do I need to do to work in a place like this?”
Where did you go to school?
I went to school after getting out of the Coast Guard and speaking with the gentleman from the state hatchery down the road from where I lived. I found that Oregon State University had a great fish and wildlife based program and started my schooling journey towards that goal.
To find park ranger positions, go to USAJobs.gov. Search “0025” and filter by “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” or “Department of the Interior.” Position requires a degree or a combination of education and experience. Details about education and experience requirements as well as specific requirements are detailed in individual job listings.