Since my seasonal job with the DNR just ended, most people ask me the same question: “What do you want to do next?”. This question usually scares me, but I’ve decided to face it head on. Growing up I always followed my heart and focused on doing what I’m passionate about. Unfortunately, once you make it to the real world (post college graduation) it’s a wake up call. Finding a job in today’s world is very difficult, well at least in the field of biology. There’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart out and working your butt off on an application, resume, and cover letter for a job that will unfortunately never get back to you.
So what’s next?
I will continue to try and find another job and spend hours every morning filling out applications and writing cover letters. But…It is my dream to work for the Georgia DNR again, no matter what division or position I could possibly get. I know this means I will most likely have to go to grad school at some point if I would like to work there long term, but I don’t think I want to go back to school yet. So for now, I’m going to continue following my passion. My passion for protecting what I love through educating the public, and doing so the most efficient way possible: using the internet.
Social Media and the internet are powerful tools. People can learn about anything with a device that fits in their hand at just about any location. I will document my journey through the freshwater fishes of Georgia and hopefully people will follow along. I want to share the beauty of our native fishes and the ecoregions throughout our state. I want people to know that when they drive over a creek on their way to work, there could be 12 species right under that bridge crossing (if the fish passage is still in okay condition). People need to expand their horizons and go fish for bass in creeks or take up microfishing! If you’re a trout fisherman, you should understand that their diet can consist of sculpins (one of my favorite non-game species). The purpose of this site is to mainly focus on the non-game species of fish, but I won’t ignore the popular game fish either.
So what’s next? Thanks to my mentor Chad, I’m going to try to apply for some small grants to help fund my travels and maybe a new camera. Eventually I’d love to publish a “coffee table” book about Georgia’s non-game species, but I know nothing about publishing books. So in the meantime, I will be researching grants, publication processes, and plan my adventures. Springtime is prime time for mating fish colors and I don’t want to miss a thing. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the support from my boyfriend and my family. It is difficult to follow your passion for conservation in a world that revolves around money and profit. Unfortunately, people don’t realize how profitable (in other ways) these non-game species can be. If there’s no sculpin, what will your trout eat? If there’s no shiners, what will your bass eat? Bass are very opportunistic feeders so they actually eat a lot of things, but you get the point.
Please follow this blog and continue to learn about our amazing species of non-game fish here in Georgia.
Get out, get wet, and explore Georgia’s creeks!
(Also, please pick up any litter while exploring the great outdoors.)