Good news everyone! We'll be moving at the end of the month, because I was offered a position with the Missouri Department of Conservation! That's right, after about 12 years of secondary education, I am now officially employable. I'll be the wildlife biologist at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area near Columbia, Missouri. It's an area that is primarily managed for waterfowl and waterbird habitat and hunting, but it also provides lots of wildlife viewing opportunities as well. As the wildlife biologist, I'll oversee two people and manage the area, as well as have the chance to do a few side projects of my own. I'm really looking forward to it! If you want to know more about where I'll be working, check this website out. Right now my first few project ideas include helping department staff be eligible for the Wildlife Society's certified Wildlife Biologist program, trying to establish a bird-banding station at Eagle Bluffs, and trying to start a long-term turtle monitoring program that focuses on the effects of water level manipulation on turtle populations.
Of course, that means that I have a ton of stuff to do in the next few weeks. Packing up everything we own and finding a place to live will be the first few challenges. I also have to defend my dissertation on the 20th of this month, which means I need to get my defense talk put together and be prepared for questions that might come my way. It sounds like I will have a pretty big audience at my defense. Fortunately I just came back from the annual Wildlife Society conference, where I gave a very short version of my defense talk. So it will just be a matter of expanding it to a longer talk (about 45 minutes). Oh and I am also working part-time at a butcher shop until I move. I'm going to be busy!
But moving should be fun. We're just going to rent a big Uhaul truck and do it all on a weekend. My parents offered to help (hopefully they will bring Casey along), and Zane and Melissa might help as well. My grandparents will also meet us in Columbia to supervise the procedure. Should be a nice, stress-free day. Maybe. Anyway, I know the dogs and the cats will be excited - a new place to sniff out, find the good hiding spots, and discover the best places to poop in the yard. Bunsen will have a few more chances at some drugged victims for his affections during the trip out there. I think I'll drive the Uhaul and let Heather deal with the amorous cats!