It seems like just yesterday we were pinning the new 2018 Wildlife Phenology Calendar on our walls, preparing for the new year ahead. And just like that, spring is nearly here. We’ve been carefully tracking the signs, and here’s how we know:
5. The sandhill cranes are back! We’ve heard their trumpeting calls as they fly overhead, and we’ve seen them foraging in the fields nearby.
4. Geese! So many geese in the air, in the fields. Leopold said their return during the March thaw was the definitive sign of spring.
3. Robins, chipmunks, and frogs – oh my! They’re returning (American robins) and emerging from hibernation (Eastern chipmunks and leopard frogs).
2. The clocks just “sprang forward” for most of us in the United States! We skipped ahead an hour for Daylight Savings and “gained” an hour of daylight.
While we love phenology, and the compounding signs of spring bring excitement and changes on the landscape, here’s the number one sign (at least here at the Aldo Leopold Foundation) that spring is nearly here:
1. We welcomed a new cohort of Leopold Fellows!
Each spring, a new group of young professionals joins the Aldo Leopold Foundation staff for an immersive nine-month fellowship. This week we welcomed two land stewardship fellows and one education and outreach fellow to our team. They will be responsible for carrying out much of the frontline work from land management to visitor programming while also participating in leadership curriculum and professional development activities. When these fellows finally fledge at the end of their fellowship, they’ll be prepared for careers in conservation and equipped to take on leadership roles.
Please help us welcome Lauren Graves, Tanya Iretskaya, and Marguerite Rapp! And if you visit us this year, do say hello to our fellows and ask about their experience.
Lauren Graves – Education & Outreach
Lauren is 21 years old and hails from Marshall, Wisconsin. She has a passion for politics, popcorn, and sustainability. Lauren just finished her Bachelor’s degree this past December, attending the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She studied abroad in Costa Rica, where she was exposed to her first environmental studies courses. Inspired by the experience, she returned to UW- Eau Claire and created a personalized degree in Sustainability and Global Environment to study society, environment, and mindful change. Her coursework and applied research focused in the areas of climate change, land management, and sustainability. Outside of her academic pursuits, Lauren enjoys running, hiking, and going to concerts. She considers herself an outdoor enthusiast and a life-long learner and aspires to one day combine these qualities for a career in a university setting as either a sustainability coordinator or a professor of environmental studies.
Tanya Iretskaia – Land Stewardship
Tanya comes to the foundation most recently from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Originally from Russia, Tanya grew up and studied in France and California. She spent the last 10 years working abroad and was fortunate to be involved in a number of conservation projects around the globe (including, most recently, Madagascar, Costa Rica and the Galapagos). With previous field experience in the US as well, she is now eager to learn as much as possible about the Midwest and Wisconsin in particular. Tanya says she is excited to be joining the Aldo Leopold Foundation and hopes to contribute to the responsible and ethical land management happening here. Outside of work and study, Tanya enjoys everything outdoors, cycling, dancing, and playing ping-pong.
Marguerite Rapp – Land Stewardship Fellow
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Marguerite spent much of her childhood exploring the Southwest with her family. After discovering her passion for outdoor exploration and stewardship, Marguerite went to school in Flagstaff, Arizona to study forestry and ecological restoration. Her professional interests lie in building partnerships with landowners and using her forestry expertise to develop forest management plans based on sound conservation practices. She is particularly interested in agroforestry applications and hopes to gain more exposure to that after relocating to the Midwest. During her free time, I like to garden, cook, and spend time exploring my surroundings.
We also have seasonal fellowships during peak growing season. Check our employment page for postings in the coming weeks!