February 5th, 2016
Amanda Schluter joined Hawks Aloft this January as a seasonal intern during a lull in her work season with the U.S. Forest Service. Amanda comes to Hawks Aloft with a strong background in field surveys and with lots of enthusiasm.
What’s your educational background?
I graduated in 2011 from the University of New Mexico with a BS in Biology and Biological Anthropology.
Tell us about your work history with the National Forest Service
After graduation, I worked as a biological science technician at the Cibola National Forest in the Mt. Taylor Ranger District for the summers of 2012 and 2013. My job was to conduct Mexican Spotted Owl and Northern Goshawk surveys for the majority of the field season (April through August). Because my employment was partially funding by the forestry division of the district, I also assisted them in timber sale layouts after the bird surveys were complete. I also assisted the Rangeland Management team with various surveys and recreation needs with campground and trail maintenance. This was a great way to understand the different roles of the various groups within the forest service.
For the 2014 field season, I worked in Pioneer, California on the Eldorado National Forest, located south of Lake Tahoe along Carson Pass. The majority of my work consisted of doing Northern Spotted Owl and Northern Goshawk surveys but I also was able to assist with stream bank alteration surveys and yellow-legged frog surveys.
For the 2015 field season with the Forest service, I worked in Flagstaff, Arizona in the Coconino National Forest. I was still mostly doing Mexican Spotted Owl and Northern Goshawk surveys. I also surveyed for Peregrine Falcon, narrow-headed garter snake, northern and lowland leopard frog, bats, and some sensitive plant species. I also assisted in the relocation of a prairie dog colony. This forest is unique because it has a large number of Spotted Owls which made surveying for them very fun.
How did you hear about Hawks Aloft?
I heard about Hawks Aloft from one of the volunteers, Chellye Porter. She heard about my work history and thought that I would be interesting in volunteering. She then put me into contact with Gail.
What has been your favorite experience so far at Hawks Aloft?
I have had a lot of survey experience but I had never surveyed for songbirds. I have really enjoyed that experience. I really appreciate how it makes you slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. Plus, I enjoy seeing the birds and identifying them.
I also really get a lot of enjoyment from visiting local schools for education programs. All the students have been really great and love to learn about the different raptors that we bring. Their excitement is contagious and it is great to teach someone something new.
What do you hope to learn here and how will it inform your future work?
Since the majority of my work in the past has been surveys for raptors, I really wanted to learn more about the songbird surveys and also migratory bird surveys. I also am interested in getting a different work experience beyond that. Being able to handle the birds and teach others about them is very appealing to me.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work, I like to go camping and hiking a lot with my dog, Dexter. I also love crafts like knitting, crocheting and card making. Most weekends my friends and I will go to a local brewery or out to eat somewhere.