Welcoming Nick Wirwa to the Survey!

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Written by Steve Earsom
Monday, May 12, 2014

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.This year I’m lucky to have Nick Wirwa as my observer. By way of introduction, Nick began his career as a student working summers at Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) checking wood duck boxes, banding wood ducks, spraying aquatic invasives, and helping with shorebird surveys. He parlayed that experience into a full-time position at Merritt Island NWR in Florida as a Wildlife Refuge Specialist, getting experience in refuge operations and the fire management program. Nick also worked as an Assistant Manager at Pelican Island NWR before his passion for wetlands and waterfowl led him to the Lower Mississippi River NWR Complex, where as Wildlife Biologist he manages wetland habitat, primarily moist-soil impoundments and cropland, for migrating wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, and bottomland hardwood forests for neotropical songbirds.

Nick received a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management/Wildlife Biology from the University of Tennessee at Martin and a Master’s degree from South Dakota State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, where he wisely avoided South Dakota winters by conducting his research at Kealia NWR on Maui focusing on wetland ecology.

This is Nick’s first year to be a part of the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey team. He says, “I am excited and honored to be a part of the long history of these surveys. As I think about the biologists before me who pioneered this program and faced so many challenges that we don’t have to face today, I am grateful for those who recognized the importance of conservation so that our future generations will have waterfowl to observe and to hunt. Being able to gain this experience will help mold and shape me into a better waterfowl biologist and better manage their habitat whether on the nesting grounds or wintering grounds. I look forward to being a part of this effort this year and for many more years.” Look for some flight logs from Nick over the coming weeks as he becomes an integral part of the team.

Nick Wirwa is participating for the first time in the Waterfowl Breeding and Habitat Survey, as observer for Steve Earsom.

Nick Wirwa is participating for the first time in the Waterfowl Breeding and Habitat Survey, as observer for Steve Earsom. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS