Lessons Learned

Member Spotlight: Kelly Douglass 

Who are you and what do you do?

I have been working for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission as the Forest Stewardship Biologist over the Piedmont region of North Carolina since 2010.  I am primarily responsible for helping forest landowners manage their property for wildlife and writing forest stewardship plans to guide them through their management activities.  I began my career with the Commission in 2000, when I was hired part-time as an intern in the Nongame Program while completing my B.S. degree from NC State University (NCSU) in Wildlife Sciences. After completing my B.S. in Wildlife Sciences in 2002, I attained a permanent job with the Commission as their Captive Cervid Biologist in 2004.  I was in charge of our statewide program focused on preventing the introduction of chronic wasting disease into NC through regulating captive deer and elk facilities, and our statewide Fawn Rehabilitation Program.  During these positions, I was completing my M.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from NCSU.  I successfully defended my research in May 2011, which focused on the effects of tillage on shot concentrations in publicly managed dove fields in North Carolina, and will be graduating this semester.

What is the basis of your interests in wildlife and habitat restoration and future outlook? 

I have always enjoyed the outdoors spending a large portion of my childhood outside.  Both my father and grandfather studied forestry in school and have always encouraged me to enjoy nature and protect our natural resources.  They taught me about the cultural and intrinsic values of land and how important it was for us to take care of the land we had.  It didn’t take long for me to become fascinated with plants and animals, and so I ended up studying wildlife sciences in school and pursuing a career in wildlife conservation when I got older.  Most of my interests in wildlife and habitat management came from my experiences with the Commission and my graduate research.  When the Forest Stewardship Biologist position became available last year, I jumped at the chance to make a real difference working with private landowners to get wildlife habitat back on the landscape and to help them understand the importance of conserving natural resources for future generations.  

How do you feel the working group can better serve its members? 

I just joined the Wildlife and Habitat Restoration Working Group last year, when I became Forest Stewardship Biologist, so I have not really had much interaction with the other working group members yet.  My primary interest in being a part of this working group is to gather more information on wildlife and habitat restoration so that I can better serve the private landowners with whom I work.  From my perspective, knowledge and information sharing is one of the best ways the working group can better serve its members.


Officer Spotlight: Raymond (Ray) Iglay, Chair-Elect

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a Research Associate for Mississippi State University (MSU), a position that began in 2005 and which currently serves as a temporary position between graduate school and my first position out of school. I received my Ph.D. in Forest Resources in December 2010 and M.S. in Wildlife Science in 2007 from MSU but originally hail from Delaware where I received a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Entomology from the University of Delaware. My career has basically been graduate education with a spattering of project management, leadership roles, teaching, and research dealing with biodiversity response to prescribed fire and selective herbicide in mid-rotation, intensively managed pine stands.

What is the basis of your interests in wildlife and habitat restoration and future outlook?

Like most of us, my initial interests in wildlife began during childhood. Even though northern Delaware was like a suburb of Philadelphia with lots of people and a few isolated natural areas, I used to play in neighborhood creeks and woods, fly fish the Brandywine River, and even had an insect “bug” collection in grade school. Little did I know while growing up that I could make a career of my outdoor interests. Through initial research experiences at the University of Delaware, I quickly gravitated towards developing a better understanding of wildlife responses to anthropogenic disturbances such as habitat fragmentation and isolation, land use change, and exotic species. I feel insights to restoration have and always will help guide wildlife management in our ever changing environments and that educating our youth and the general public about our natural resources will be the keystone of future sustainability.

How do you feel the working group can better serve its members?

I am looking forward to improving our communication with members and nonmembers to instill a sense of camaraderie among wildlife professionals interested in restoration and supporting our parent organization, The Wildlife Society, in all of its endeavors to advance our profession. I am also very open to feedback from members. Please do not hesitate to let me know how the working group can benefit you (riglay@cfr.msstate.edu).


Member Spotlight: Matt Bahm

Who are you (employer, job title/description, location/ecosystem, degrees)?

I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Wildlife Management Program at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX for Spring 2010. I completed my B.S. degree at Oklahoma State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology. For my M.S. Degree, I attended Sul Ross State University in Alpine,TX and completed a complete mammalian inventory of Amistad National Recreation Area near Del Rio, TX on the U.S./Mexico border. As part of my research, I examined the changes in the small mammal and vegetation communities that had occurred since the previous study conducted 26 years prior. I recently completed my Ph.D. in Wildlife Sciences from South Dakota State University. I conducted research on controlling exotic plant species and re-establishing or rehabilitating native plant communities, as well as, examined the benefits of diverse native plantings to grassland passerines.

What got you interested in wildlife and wildlife or habitat restoration? Any specific issues or species? What is your favorite plant and/or animal?

I became interested in wildlife at an early age through spending time outdoors: fishing, hunting, camping, and handling any creature my brother and I were fast enough to catch. I grew up in the tallgrass prairie region of Oklahoma and watched it disappear. This is what initially started my interest in habitat restoration. I wanted to give others the chance to experience all the things that helped me develop my appreciation of nature. I am strongly interested in grassland restoration and invasive species, but also have a strong fascination with many other biomes. My fascination with other biomes is evident in my favorite plant and animal species: eagle-claw cactus and Merriam's pocket mouse. Both species are found in the Chihuahuan desert under harsh environmental conditions. I learned about eagle-claw cacti in a course with Dr. Mike Powell at Sul Ross State University and caught many pocket mice during my research. I am impressed by the plants and animals that are able to survive in desert ecosystems.

What was a project you’ve worked on that you think had the best outcome/biggest success or that you’re proud of?

I am very proud of my native prairie rehabilitation work conducted in South Dakota. I was able to successfully develop methods for controlling smooth brome (Bromus inermis; an invasive plant throughout the Northern Great Plains), while minimizing harm to native species. Native species began to thrive after the removal of the invasive species and once again dominate the system. Managers can now begin to restore historical disturbance regimes to further enhance these prairie fragments. This information will provide an opportunity for agencies and prairie enthusiasts to rehabilitate these areas, rather than to till the ground and reseed native species which was the commonly recommended method.

If you could choose only one restoration tool (e.g., fire, tractor, herbicide, pesticide, irrigation, seeder, brushhog, mulcher or any other tool of your choosing) which one would you choose and why?

This is a tough question. All of these are great choices in the right setting. If forced to choose one, based on my research, I would have to say herbicide. I realize that this isn't always a popular choice, but with the many invasive species issues we now face they are an indispensable tool. Often, invasive species must be controlled prior to and after attempting to restore native habitat. Herbicides, when used appropriately, can provide flexibility and targeted treatment not always available with other methods.