Alumni Interview – Robyn Reeder

by | Field Notes

Congratulations to former Public Lands Stewards (PLS) Intern Robyn Reeder! She is the new Biotechnician at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Our Outreach Coordinator Trevor was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Robyn about her new position and how PLS helped her achieve her goals.

Tell me about your new position.

I am still managing the American Bullfrog removal project; however, in my new position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service I am now also helping manage other wildlife surveys (bats, cranes, butterflies), other invasive plant and animal removals, and general maintenance around the refuge. The bullfrog removal project continues to be one of the highest priority projects for the refuge, and we hope to have the bullfrog eradicated from the refuge by 2026.

What is your favorite part about your new position?

I have wanted this position since I applied for the PLS internship. I love the Trout Lake area and am so grateful I get to call it home. I love all of the aspects of this job; I love being in the field, working outside, observing animals, and trying to better understand the ecology of this beautiful ecosystem. I’ve also really enjoyed the quieter winter months when I get to spend more time looking at and analyzing data, writing reports, and collaborating with other fish and wildlife folks on current and future projects. Conboy Lake NWR is a pretty special spot. I don’t think I’ll ever take for granted the view of Mt. Adams while I’m working in a meadow surrounded by camas and lupine.

How did PLS prepare you for this position?

PLS did a very good job of introducing us to the community in Trout Lake and beyond. It is true what they say: networking is everything! Everyone was so accommodating and I am grateful for the professional development opportunities presented to me through this internship.

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking of PLS or this type of work?

Just like in any position, it is what you make of it! Come up with your own ideas and do not be afraid to ask for more from the position. This internship provided me with so many opportunities to learn, explore, and network and I am very glad I took advantage of the resources offered by MAI.

Are there any funny stories you want to share?

Well, we did find a blue bullfrog last year! It is a very rare genetic mutation. Typically, bullfrogs have blue and yellow pigment. This frog is missing yellow pigment so its skin was blue! At the beginning of the season I jokingly told my crew that our goal is to find a blue bullfrog – I never thought we would actually find one!

Woman using net to catch bullfrogs in a lake