Students explore career opportunities at Panama City Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office

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Fish Biologist Adam Kaeser demonstrating Gulf sturgeon tagging to collect data on fish populations and habitat distribution.

A Day in the Life of a Biologist

The Panama City Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office recently hosted six students from Florida State University for a career shadow day, featuring speaker sessions, a potluck lunch, and a visit to St. Andrews State Park.

Upon arrival, students were warmly welcomed by biologists from the Ecological Services and Fish and Aquatic Conservation programs. They received an informative overview of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs, priorities, and initiatives. The morning session included "Day in the Life" presentations from Panama City FWCO Biologists Katie Ayers and Adam Kaeser, alongside Florida ES Biologists Samantha Hermann, Catrina Martin, Sandy Pursifull, Patty Kelly, and Caroline Walker. These presentations highlighted the diverse tasks and responsibilities within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, covering topics such as threatened and endangered species, habitat restoration, research and biological monitoring, policy and legislation, and career opportunities for aspiring conservation and environmental professionals.

A cookout lunch provided a relaxed setting for students and staff to engage in further discussions before heading out to the beach in the afternoon.

Field Trip

Florida Ecological Services biologists discuss beach renourishment projects for shorebirds at St. Andrews State Park in Florida.

In the afternoon, biologists Samantha Hermann, Katie Ayers, and Patty Kelly led the students on a field trip to St. Andrews State Park. There, they discussed shorebird conservation, beach mouse monitoring, sea turtle recovery, and dune restoration projects. This field trip was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate collaborative conservation efforts, showcasing partnerships and on-the-ground restoration work with state agencies and other organizations.

Resources for Students

Find your path with the U.S. Department of the Interior with this short quiz.

For more information on internships and fellowship opportunities, please visit

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