Meet wildlife biologist Christie Boser! Christie discusses how her conservation journey led her to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the things she enjoys doing during her free time. Learn more about Christie in the latest Faces of the Fish and Wildlife Service interview!
Olivia Beitelspacher: Welcome to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Christie! What role do you play within the agency?
Christie Boser: Hi and thank you! I lead the island fox and western snowy plover recovery programs for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. I help to ensure that these and other species have a place to rest, forage and raise young in proximity to the homes of so many southern Californians. This means working with the human communities to enhance their understanding of what these species need and how we, as people, can adapt our use of beaches, creeks and hillsides to share space with these beautiful animals.
OB: Wow, that is very cool! Finding a way for humans and wildlife to coexist is extremely important. What led you to a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
CB: I spent my early career conducting conservation research and restoration in wildlands and cities around the country. I found I enjoyed convening stakeholders to identify obstacles to conservation and strategize on solutions for people and wildlife. I joined the Service to use the tools I learned in applied conservation to influence policy and planning at a state and federal level.
OB: Being able to communicate and strategize with stakeholders is a crucial skill in the conservation field! I think it’s great that you’re using those skills to tackle policy and large-scale planning. Where did you go to school and what did you study?
CB: I studied at my hometown, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the State University of New York, Syracuse where I researched coyote behavior ecology. Coyotes are the ultimate survivors in our world. By studying their behaviors and thinking like they think, I understand a lot about how all animals compete and survive in this anthropocentric world.
OB: Coyotes sure are resilient! I love that you can look at the world from the perspective of the wildlife you’re working to protect by studying the behavior of coyotes. So Christie, do you have any conservation heroes?
CB: Absolutely! I need to recognize the woman who have mentored me in the Service, The Nature Conservancy and the National Parks. They amaze me with their kindness, creativity and persistence in developing conservation programs that help us to live with and love the lands we call home. We are so lucky to have amazing people working for our native southern California species, and it shows, in the recovery of the island foxes on the Channel Islands, and the fight to keep the monarchs alive and flourishing here in California.
OB: I’m so glad that you have such a strong and supportive network of women who are working to address tough conservation challenges. They sound truly inspirational! Can you tell us about a particular project from your career or schooling that makes you really proud?
CB: I am extremely proud of the work I’ve done with aspiring biologists. They have been the backbone of the conservation programs I’ve led to protect endangered species, such as the island fox, and the native pollinators of our endemic California ecosystems. So many of them have gone on to grad school and now work in conservation lands management. As long as amazing people like that keep showing up for conservation, our plants and animals will be cared for and represented.
OB: Well said! It is so rewarding to watch aspiring biologists pick up the torch and do amazing things for conservation. Last question - How do you spend your free time?
CB: I love learning about other cultures, perspectives and scientific inquiry so I spend my free time traveling, reading and discussing this world with the amazing people I’ve met through my conservation work. I also enjoy creating a beautiful and sustainable place to spend my time, so I dedicate time to garden for my food, to plant native plants for the urban wildlife of Ventura and I paint to express my feelings and share my thoughts with family and friends.
OB: What a wonderful variety of hobbies to keep you busy! We will need to swap travel stories and recommendations soon. Thank you, Christie!