Hello! My name is Sam Kieschnick, and I am an Urban Wildlife Biologist in Dallas/Fort Worth with Texas Parks and Wildlife. What does an urban wildlife biologist do? Well, most of my job involves working with the public. As urbanization occurs, wildlife and people interact more and more. I try to work with people to find out the ways that these interactions can be beneficial.
My job entails three parts: outreach, technical guidance, and research. I get to do quite a few presentations on urban biology and various organisms that are found in and around cities and towns. These presentations can be for city councils, park planners, general public, school groups, or anyone that wants to hear my jibber jabber! :) I also give technical guidance to land owners, municipalities, and organizations that want to create wildlife habitat. One of my favorite parts of my job is how active I get to be with citizen science and naturalists.
I am a graduate of Tarleton State University with a master degree in genetics of pocket gophers. I have been quite fortunate to have different jobs related to my biology degree. I worked at Weatherford College as a professor of general biology, zoology, and botany. After that, I worked at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in the herbarium. I then worked for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as a science interpreter, then as a naturalist at the Fort Worth Nature Center. Then I worked with the City of Mansfield in the Parks and Recreation Department as a nature educator. It’s been a great life!
I am bonkers about iNaturalist. In my very biased opinion, it’s the most powerful tool that I’ve ever used (even more powerful than the DNA sequencer I used for my master’s degree!). I have learned a tremendous amount by making observations and identifying other folks’ observations. Whenever I go outside, I bring iNaturalist with me – it guides me in my exploration and encourages me to go and observe more. I’ve written a little more about why I am so crazy about iNaturalist: http://www.inaturalist.org/journal/sambiology/3679
I am not an expert in anything, but I do try my best to provide accurate guidance. I admit, I’ve goofed a lot on identifications, so please correct me! I tend to learn more from my mistakes too.