[Nate Senner, Part 3: Plans and Dreams] [How did you get started?] I hate to say it but I sort of got roped into birds at an early age. My father is an ornithologist, and, and basically every time our family went on vacation we were insured of spending a fair bit of time watching birds. So it was either really sink or swim you know. Maybe my family might disown me if I hadn’t gone into birds, but luckily I chose the right path. so I started watching birds at a young age but I really became almost obsessed with them. I wouldn’t say in a, quite a bad way but they are, they’re definitely my passion and what I enjoy spending the most amount of time thinking about. [If you could do anything, what would it be?] I would say if I can do anything I do what I’m doing right now. I love being in the field. I love just spending time walking around the Arctic. I love going to see new places, and so the fact that biology and studying birds allows me to do all of those things really makes it the perfect fit for me. [What careers exist for scientists?] I would say the career opportunities for scientists are growing almost by the year. I mean, you can certainly go into academia, you could be a professor, you could become a teacher, you know at a high school level, or you could go and work for the government, you could work, you know, for the National Park Service or the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a biologist at one of the refuges or parks, or you could become a consultant who works, you know, maybe studying the the potential environmental damage done by a, you know, a mine or a road, or the potential environmental benefits that are made by restoring an ecosystem. So it’s really becoming a varied field, you don’t just have to sit in a lab or just sit out there watching Hudsonian Godwits. [Where do you see yourself going?] I’m really looking towards some combination of education and conservation. I love working in the field, but I love working in the field when I’m trying to answer questions that I feel are meaningful to, to the well-being of the birds or the ecosystem, and I also want to connect that and share that knowledge to two other people, whether it’s through kids or college students or, or the general public. [If you were a high school student, how would you get involved?] I think the most important thing to do is just get out there and do it, and get, get started learning about what’s around you. Try and find volunteer opportunities, or or hopefully paying jobs with, with local scientists. I mean when I started the first three or four years that I worked it was all volunteer, but it got it, gave me the opportunity to see incredible places in Alaska. So I think you just, you start learning about what’s around you, and then you try to get to know people who, who are doing that sort of work that interests you and, and you know, volunteering and working with them over your summer break. That’s, that’s the way to get started. [Produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the Crossing Boundaries Project]End of transcript
Nate Senner, a former Cornell graduate student, describes how he got roped into watching birds at a young age and why he’s happy about that now that he hopes to continue his career as an ornithologist and bird enthusiast.