In Their Own Words

Jim monitoring in the field

My background:

I was born and raised in rural Michigan, where family, friends, lakes, forest, snow and mosquitoes taught me how to love, feel wonder and be resilient. When I was 6 years old, the death of my mother and strength of my father taught me both the ephemerality and adaptability of the human experience. From an early age at the end of a quiet dirt road, my dog and I befriended the wild plants, animals and places around my home that provided endless entertainment, instruction and joy in being aware, engaged and playful.

Athletics taught me discipline, persistence and focus. I earned an athletic scholarship to college where I was able to experience the rewards of prolonged hard work. With a degree in Biology, Chemistry and Art, I went on to work in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cape Cod, Vermont, Alaska and Costa Rica. I’ve been able to lead young and old in outdoor nature discovery and also work as a field ecologist in various settings.

With the gift/curse of having far-ranging interests and abilities, I’ve been fortunate to be supported in my work at OAEC as a specialized generalist—first as a facilities intern from 2000-2002, then as a staff member starting in 2004.


My work at OAEC:

I have the stimulating challenge of work that covers a range of programs, operations and disciplines. Depending on the needs of the day, I swap many hats and tools, and am fortunate to have the support of co-workers who are flexible and forgiving. Sometimes I get to use cameras to support OAEC’s programmatic objectives by creating images that help tell the story of this place and the wonderful work and play that happens here. I am proud to be able to work with body and mind on many aspects of facilities and land management. I’ve gotten a little bit good at a lot of different things and have appreciated the educational opportunities in having to just figure things out.  

My passions:

I enjoy, most of all, the times when I find myself outside with dirt under the nails, sweat on the brow and contentment in the heart.  I enjoy hard work and the satisfaction of contributing to the health and wellbeing of the land and its occupants.


Jim the ecologist