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Previous Wildlife Conservation and Management Interns

2021

Kaylee kneeling on a trail bridge with a dog with water and trees in background

Kaylee was the first WCM intern assigned projects that addressed species other than the gopher tortoise. Kaylee’s first project included rewriting two species profile pages for the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake and the gopher frog. Her second project focused on data entry and fixing records that had been altered during a software transition of the FWC Species Ranking System (SRS). This project helped to organize data to obtain the most accurate score possible, which is used to determine the relative vulnerability of a species. Kaylee also served as the Education & Outreach and Volunteer Program Coordinator, and was assigned photo approvals for the Gopher Tortoise Sightings web app. This app uses citizen science to track where tortoises are being sighted and helps staff understand how they are being impacted by anthropogenic factors.

Kaylee graduated in the Fall of 2021 with her Master’s in Aquatic Environmental Science. After graduation, she hopes to work for a government agency to help with the conservation of various aquatic species and habitats.

Mathew kneeling while inserting a gopher tortoise camera down a burrow

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, the WCM internship program was paused between the spring of 2020 and 2021. Mathew helped to continue the program by serving as the WCM internship’s first virtual intern! Mathew was assigned Gopher Tortoise Day Outreach as his primary project, creating a series of bulletins to advertise and promote involvement in Gopher Tortoise Day events. For his secondary project, Mathew served as the Education & Outreach and Volunteer Program Coordinator. This involved revamping how the program conducted outreach events and changing to a completely virtual format. For his tertiary project, Mathew approved photo submissions for the Gopher Tortoise Sightings web app.

Mathew graduated in the spring of 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing, Editing, and Media. Mathew hopes to use the skills he acquired in college and during the internship to continue work in conservation communications, writing for nature focused companies and foundations.

2019

Kanhiya James Stephenson scoping a tortoise burrow with a camera

Kanhiya created webinars on recipient site permitting and habitat management incentive programs that will assist local governments and stakeholders with gopher tortoise conservation. Kanhiya also coordinated Education & Outreach programs for the semester, and the Gopher Tortoise Volunteer Programs. For her tertiary project, she reviewed photos submitted through the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone app for approval.

Kanhiya graduates from Florida State University in May 2020 with a B.A in Environmental Science and a minor in Italian language. She plans on moving to Los Angeles, where she hopes to work for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife while pursuing a master’s degree in Geology.

Jessica Dones standing with a tortoise at an excavation site with construction equipment in background

Jessica created a fact sheet on gopher tortoise and dog safety that will be part of a future educational campaign. The fact sheet will be used to raise awareness on gopher-tortoise-dog-conflict and minimize the time and resources used to address this issue. Additionally, Jessica reviewed and filled data gaps involving historical relocation permits for incorporation into the Wildlife Incident Management System. Jessica also approved photos submitted to the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone app. She enjoyed the outreach and field events – especially learning about all the work that goes into gopher tortoise excavations.

Jessica graduated from FSU in the summer of 2019 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Entrepreneurship. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Zoology to work in conservation, or to attend veterinary school.

Simone Gable holding up a gopher tortoise while standing behind an FWC booth

Simone continued work on the ITP conservation easement digitization project, digitizing 16 easements using ArcGIS Pro. She also served as the Education and Outreach Coordinator, as well as the Volunteer Coordinator, where she scheduled and attended events and organized interested volunteers. Simone also reviewed photos submitted through the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone app for approval. Simone enjoyed her first experience working in the area of conservation and gained invaluable interpersonal skills through heading the outreach program.

Simone graduated from Florida State University in May 2019 with a B.S. in Biological Science and moved to William B. Bankhead National Forest to work as a reptile technician for Alabama A & M University. She is applying for Ecology and Evolution PhD programs for Fall 2020 and hopes to work as a researcher in conservation.

Alexis Chavez showing a child a tortoise at an FWC booth

Alexis continued to conduct outreach for Gopher Tortoise Day, advertising the webpage to the public and recording the number of adopted resolutions and events conducted. For his secondary project, he researched Scientific Collecting Permits and contacted permittees with a questionnaire that asked about the status of their tortoise(s). Additionally, Alexis organized and recorded information for conservation easements from incidental take permits for digitization. Alexis enjoyed learning about gopher tortoise conservation efforts in Florida and its role as a keystone species. Most importantly, he enjoyed working with the program’s educational tortoise, Scooter.

Alexis will be interning with Tall Timbers in the summer of 2019, identifying resource limitations on the northern bobwhite. Alexis graduates from Florida State University in Spring 2020 with a B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy. After graduation he hopes to pursue a career in habitat management and conservation.

2018

Susan Laitsch showing a child the snake around her neck at an FWC outreach event

Susan continued work on the ITP conservation easement digitization project, digitizing 13 easements using ArcGIS Pro and locating missing easement data. Additionally, Susan acted as Education & Outreach Coordinator and Volunteer Program Coordinator, scheduling and participating in outreach events as well as organizing volunteers. Susan also reviewed user-submitted photos to the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app. Susan enjoyed learning about gopher tortoises and working with outreach animals such as a Florida pine snake, yellow rat snake, and several species of frogs.

Susan graduates from Florida State University in Spring 2019 with a B.S. in Environmental Science. She hopes to continue working in conservation and plans to attend graduate school in the future.

Caitlin Jones

Caitlin continued work on the ITP conservation easement digitization project, digitizing 37 easements using ArcGIS Pro. Additionally, Caitlin served as Education & Outreach and Volunteer Program Coordinator, planning outreach events and organizing volunteers. Caitlin also assisted in a Temporary Exclusion Follow-up Survey at the Halpata Preserve/Cross Florida Greenway. In addition to learning how to do survey fieldwork, she also learned how to scope gopher tortoise burrows and operate a remote GPS unit.

Caitlin will continue her education at Florida State University and hopes to receive her master’s degree in Geography Fall 2019. She plans to attend the Gopher Tortoise Council Conference later this year and help present the Temporary Exclusion Follow-up Survey project. After graduation, she aims to pursue a career in conservation.

Paul Lim

Paul began a new project for which he coordinated with Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agents to gather and organize recipient site monitoring report data. Paul created a comprehensive spreadsheet for concise analysis of each recipient site monitoring report received, and organized files into a more accessible format. Paul also updated the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program’s list of permitted wildlife rehabbers and reviewed user-submitted photos to the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app.

Paul graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Environment and Society and a Minor in Environmental Science & Policy. He hopes to volunteer with ReThink Energy FL, a non-profit organization, and is eager to pursue further conservation efforts.

Savannah Goode

Savannah composed five Gopher Tortoise Day bulletins and a Facebook post that assisted with the adoption of 23 Gopher Tortoise Day proclamations, including recognition of Gopher Tortoise Day by Governor Rick Scott. Savannah also continued work on the ITP conservation easement digitization project, digitizing 19 easements from aerial imagery and metes & bounds information. For her tertiary project, Savannah reviewed user submissions to the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app.

Savannah graduated from FSU with a B.S. in Biological Science on May 4th, 2018. She spent the summer in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research “Explorer-in-Training Program”, mapping the seafloor from Virginia to Bermuda aboard the Okeanos Explorer.

2017

Mackenzie using a scope camera down a gopher tortoise burrow

Mackenzie created a “Gopher Tortoise Treasure Chest” for the FWC South Region containing hands-on gopher tortoise artifacts for education and outreach activities, and refurbished the existing Tallahassee Treasure Chest. Mackenzie also served as the Education & Outreach and Volunteer Program Coordinator, planning for outreach events and organizing volunteers.

Mackenzie also created outreach animal talking point cards – a tool that serves as a resource of information for those displaying the animals commonly used by the FWC at outreach events. Mackenzie will graduate from Florida State University with a B.S. in Environmental Science. She hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a related field of study. Mackenzie also plans to apply for the Peace Corps this summer and is excited to further her work in conservation!

Nora Sullivan holding an alligator

Nora began a new project creating easily accessible spatial data files of conservation easements, granted to the FWC through previously issued Incidental Take permits (ITPs), to improve long-term management and compliance. Using ArcGIS Pro, Nora digitized 23 easements from metes & bounds information. For her secondary project, she compiled results from the local government approval survey project (spring 2017) into a comprehensive summary report. Nora’s tertiary project was to review user submissions to the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app.

Nora will be graduating from Florida State University in spring 2019 with a B.S. in environmental science and a minor in computer science. She hopes to complete an “Honors in the Major” thesis project, related to ocean acidification, at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, FL. Nora recommends this internship to anyone interested in wildlife, and encourages potential interns to just gopher it.

Paris Jennings holding a tortoise at a field site

Paris created an eLearning course that provides training to volunteers who are interested in conducting outreach events as a representative for the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program. Paris also served as the Education & Outreach Coordinator, and the Volunteer Program Coordinator. Her tertiary project consisted of monitoring photo submissions to the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app.

Paris will graduate from Florida State University in the spring of 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science and minors in Education and Biology. She plans to attend graduate school and complete a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, concentrating on Animal Behavior and GIS. Paris wishes to pursue a career in marine life conservation that will allow her to continue to be involved with education and outreach efforts in Florida.

Alyssa Schubert holding a snake

Alyssa conducted targeted outreach to private landowners throughout Florida in order to gauge their conservation interests, and promote gopher tortoise recipient sites on private lands. She additionally contacted public land managers and wildlife rehabilitators in an effort to reduce the unauthorized release of gopher tortoises on public lands, and minimize the dissemination of Upper Respiratory Tract Disease (URTD). Alyssa also reviewed the gopher tortoise website, providing suggestions on how to improve the user’s experience. Alyssa will graduate from Florida State University in spring 2018 with a degree in Biomathematics and a minor in Environmental Science & Policy. She would like to pursue a graduate degree in Environmental Engineering with a focus on ecological systems or water resources. Alyssa hopes to have a career dedicated to protecting and serving the environment, and is greatly interested in conservation.

Theresa Dash showing a child a tortoise at an outreach event

Theresa conducted outreach to local governments and the general public to promote April 10th as Gopher Tortoise Day in the state of Florida. Theresa’s efforts resulted in eight cities and eight counties officially adopting a proclamation for 2017, as well as several Gopher Tortoise Day events throughout the state, raising awareness for the species. Theresa also acted as the Gopher Tortoise Education and Outreach Coordinator, and Volunteer Coordinator, organizing and coordinating events and volunteers throughout the semester. Theresa’s tertiary project involved reviewing the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app photo submissions for quality control.

Theresa will graduate from Florida State University with a degree in Environmental Science. She hopes to pursue a career in wildlife conservation where she can utilize the knowledge that she’s learned throughout her educational experience at FSU, as well as showcase the skills and experience gained through the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Internship Program at FWC.

Cody Shook wearing a tortoise hat and holding a gopher tortoise

Cody surveyed local governments throughout Florida about their permitting and approval process for land development activities on sites with gopher tortoise burrows. He also created a set of guidelines for citizens who want to post gopher tortoise signs in their communities and uploaded the information to the FWC Gopher Tortoise webpage. Cody’s tertiary project was to update the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program’s list of wildlife rehabilitators. Cody says his favorite part about being an intern was attending outreach events, watching Scooter the gopher tortoise explore nature and eat flowers.

Cody plans to graduate from FSU in December 2017 with a degree in Environmental Science. He hopes to eventually pursue a career in marine conservation, and wants to spend a few years in the field before ultimately attending law school. Cody is currently working for the FWC Boating & Waterways Section.

2016

Sarah Kettelkamp holding a tortoise at a field site

Sarah developed an eastern indigo snake eLearning course designed for those applying for a Scientific Collecting permit for research, education, and reintroduction of the species. The course includes information about the species’ natural history, identification, husbandry, and permitting, as well as a final quiz the applicant must pass to qualify for a permit. Sarah was also tasked with contacting local governments throughout the state to establish additional Incidental Take Permit (ITP) Recipient Sites, and reviewing photo submittals to the “Florida Gopher Tortoise” smartphone app.

Sarah graduates from Florida State University in May of 2017 with a major in Biology. Sarah is completing a summer internship at St. Francis Wildlife Association, and plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2017.

Carolyn Back holding a tortoise

Carolyn created an informational packet for Florida realtors about the laws and regulations regarding gopher tortoises living on private properties. Carolyn researched and included answers to frequently asked questions, developed a questionnaire, and contacted realtor associations throughout Florida to distribute the materials. Carolyn also served as the Volunteer Coordinator and the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Program, planning various public outreach events around Tallahassee.

Carolyn graduated from Florida State University in December 2016 with a major in Environmental Studies. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning. Carolyn currently works for the FWC Division of Law Enforcement, and recommends this internship for anyone who is interested in learning about conservation and having fun while doing so.

Kristin Perkins showing a tortoise to a group of children

Kristin's used Google Earth to determine the completion status of development projects previously permitted for the incidental take of gopher tortoises. The information gathered was used to contact developers with incomplete projects, and inform them of the humane relocation program offered by the FWC. Kristin's secondary project was to review and approve photo submissions from the Florida Gopher Tortoise Smartphone App. Kristin also acted as Volunteer Coordinator for the semester, and participated in public education and outreach events.

Kristin graduated in the summer of 2016 with her Master's degree in Aquatic Environmental Science from FSU. She plans to work in conservation or the rescue and rehabilitation of Florida's wildlife

Jack Boeve holding a tortoise while standing behind an FWC informational booth at an event

Jack created a fact sheet on Upper Respiratory Tract Disease (URTD) to promote awareness of the condition and assist in minimizing spread of the disease. He also acted as coordinator for the Incidental Take Permit (ITP) Gopher Tortoise Relocation Program, which recruits and trains volunteers to conduct burrow surveys on ITP sites in order to assist with offsite relocation efforts. Jack also acted as Education and Outreach Coordinator, planning a total of seven events during which he educated the public in gopher tortoise conservation.

Jack will be graduating from Florida State University in the spring of 2017 with Bachelor’s degrees in both Environmental Studies and Political Science. After graduation, he plans on working to create and enforce policies that will protect our environment.

Andrea Williams holding a gopher tortoise standing behind an FWC informational booth

Andrea created a marketing packet and website to promote April 10th as “Gopher Tortoise Day” in the state of Florida. The website provides information for local governments interested in adopting a “Gopher Tortoise Day” resolution and hosting events in their community.  Andrea was the Volunteer Program Coordinator for the semester, and helped to further implement the new Incidental Take Permit Gopher Tortoise Relocation Program. Andrea also served as the Education & Outreach Coordinator for the semester, planning multiple outreach events and presentations for a variety of audiences.

Andrea plans to graduate from FSU in the spring of 2017 with a B.S. in Environmental Science. After graduation, Andrea would like to have a career working in environmental or endangered species conservation, after completing the Peace Corps Master’s Program.

Zach Nadrich standing in front of a person holding a bald eagle underneath the State of Florida seal.

Zack ran a statistical analysis and created a summary report to assess the usage of various permit types offered by the program. Zack reviewed such parameters as permit usage by County, project acreage for each permit type, and the male:female ratio of recipient sites. Zack also worked on updating data received through our Mortality Data Webform, and created map showing mortality data throughout the state using ArcGIS. Zack worked with our intern Andrea on the “Gopher Tortoise Day” marketing packet, by creating a Facebook post that reached over 18,000 people!

Zack graduated from FSU this spring with a degree in Applied Mathematics. Zack received a job offer from Geico headquarters in Washington D.C., and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in the future.

2015

Brian Hutchinson holding a gopher tortoise

Brian created a Gopher Tortoise Training Manual for Florida State Attorneys to assist with the prosecution of gopher tortoise violations. The manual was created to inform state attorneys of the laws and case history specifically pertaining to gopher tortoises. Brian also continued Lauren’s previous work of updating and maintaining the gopher tortoise waif permit spreadsheet. Brian’s final project was the creation of the FWC Law enforcement Field Guide for gopher tortoises. The guide is intended to be a quick reference for officers to use in the field when responding to gopher tortoise calls and complaints.Brian graduated from FSU in the summer of 2015 with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Psychology. He is currently working for the FWC Captive Wildlife office.

Courtney Benter kneeling on the floor showing students a tortoise

Courtney created the Best Management Practices (BMP) Fact Sheet to help minimize the potential for agricultural and silvicultural practices to have adverse impacts on gopher tortoises. Courtney also helped to implement a special-use permit for the transport gopher tortoises to FWC approved locations, and worked with the FWC Volunteer Program to help create the new Incidental Take Permit Gopher Tortoise Relocation Program. As Education & Outreach Coordinator, Courtney planned multiple outreach events throughout the semester, allowing the program to reach diverse audiences of multiple age groups.Courtney will graduate from FSU with a B.S. in Biology in the summer of 2016. Courtney plans to procure a Ph. D. before pursuing her dream of working for the United Nations to prevent the illegal trade of wildlife.

Lauren Loria kneeling and holding a tortoise in the field

Lauren continued to manage the GIS geodatabase created by previous interns by entering gopher tortoise population and burrow survey data. Lauren’s secondary project involved maintenance of the gopher tortoise waif permit spreadsheet, which included the distribution of a questionnaire to permit holders in order to update records and contact information. Lauren also coordinated the gopher tortoise outreach and volunteer programs, and planned several new education and outreach events for the summer semester. Lauren is majoring in Environmental Studies at FSU, and is scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2016. Lauren intends to intern with the Student Conservation Association after graduation, and is planning to pursue a Master's Degree in environmental science.

Morgan Stephenson holding tortoise while behind an FWC booth

Morgan created a “Procedure for Investigation of Large-Scale Gopher Tortoise Mortality Events.” The procedure will act as a contingency plan to minimize additional gopher tortoise deaths in the case of a possible large-scale mortality event, as well as prevent such events from occurring in the future. Morgan’s secondary project involved recording and analyzing gopher tortoise mortality data in order to determine where patterns of roadside mortality may occur. Morgan also contacted licensed wildlife rehabilitators throughout the state, in order to update the gopher tortoise rehabilitator spreadsheet. Morgan will graduate from FSU in May 2016 with a degree in Biology. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the non-profit sector as a species conservation biologist.

Kelly Smith holding tortoise shell while standing behind FWC informational booth

Kelly continued to manage the GIS geodatabase created by previous interns by entering gopher tortoise population survey data. Kelly also replicated the “Gopher Tortoise Treasure Chest” originally created by an intern in Spring 2011 for FWC’s Southwest Region. She wrote a post for the MyFWC Facebook page on the issue of “Tortoise Dumping”, to dissuade citizens from moving tortoises found in yards and neighborhoods to public lands. Kelly also participated in public outreach and education events. Kelly graduated from FSU in May 2015 with dual degrees in Environmental Science and Biomathematics. She is now working for the FWC Captive Wildlife Office.

Nick Rodriguez holding tortoise at an outreach event

Nick created a fact sheet directed towards homeowners that frequently encounter gopher tortoises in their yards and neighborhoods. The main focus for the fact sheet was addressing the interactions between pets and gopher tortoises. He also helped in the implementation of the gopher tortoise volunteer programs and served as education & outreach coordinator.

Nick graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science, and is currently working on applying to law school.

2014

Megan Nelson holding snake at outreach even

Megan used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create a geodatabase of gopher tortoise burrow surveys throughout Florida. Megan's secondary project involved working with the other interns to audit the Incidental Take permit database in order to identify the build status of many of the development projects. Megan also participated in public education and outreach events. Megan is double majoring in Geography and Statistics at FSU, with minors in both mathematics and environmental studies. She is scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2015, and plans to pursue a Master's Degree in Geomatics.

Kayla Mackey holding tortoise while giving a presentation to a group of children

Kayla used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to digitize gopher tortoise burrow survey data throughout Florida and specifically from data from the Gopher Tortoise Local Government Habitat Assistance Program. Kayla's secondary project involved working with the other interns to audit the Incidental Take permit database in order to identify the build status of many of the development projects. Kayla also participated in public education and outreach events. In December of 2014, Kayla graduated from FSU with a double-major in Environmental Studies and Geography, and a minor in Biological Science. She plans to move to New York City to pursue a career in GIS, and hopes to continue to work in the field of conservation.

Headshot of Ariel Sasloe with a snake around her head

Ariel created an online A Florida Guide to Gopher Tortoise Friendly Plants and corresponding 21-page guide available for download. Ariel also coordinated and implemented the Gopher Tortoise Volunteer Program. Additionally, Ariel worked together with the other interns to audit the Incidental Take permit database in order to identify the build status of many of the development projects. She served as the public education and outreach coordinator and attended many outreach activities.

Ariel graduated from FSU with a major in Environmental Studies and minor in Psychology in December of 2014. Ariel plans on traveling through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and aspires to work with the National Park Service.

Kelsey Kachelriess holding tortoise

Kelsey implemented the mortality data collection volunteer program developed by Elyse Sachs, along with 2 new state wide volunteer programs. Kelsey was also the education and outreach coordinator for the semester and was responsible for creating more than 100 Gopher Tortoise Education CD’s and distributed them to Florida Nature Centers.

Kelsey graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Studies in August 2014. She plans to move to the west coast soon and work in conservation or preservation with a national or state park.

Jared Griffis holding a tortoise

Jared used GIS to identify Florida landowners who own than 1000 acres of priority gopher tortoise habitat. He then disseminated information to them regarding gopher tortoise recipient sites and other landowner opportunities. Jared also distributed information to zoos and nature centers on the proper care of captive tortoises and other gopher tortoise education material. Jared will graduate from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science in December 2014. Jared has accepted a job at Breckenridge Ski Resort in Vail, Colorado beginning after graduation.

Erin Thompson standing outside near trees holding a tortoise

Erin Thompson created the video Help the FWC Protect Gopher Tortoises to educate Florida’s citizens on the importance of gopher tortoises, what to do if you see one on the road/in your yard, and how you can get involved in gopher tortoise conservation. She also added to the gopher tortoise photo library by setting up photo shoots in natural and urban areas.

Erin graduated from FSU in May 2014 with a degree in Media Production and hopes to pursue a career in film, television, or writing.

Elyse Sachs standing in the field holding a clipboard

Elyse developed a volunteer program to collect gopher tortoise mortality data and distributed over 2,000 “Safe Roads for People and Tortoises” placards at educational events throughout the state. Elyse also created burrow scope use guidelines and compiled statewide gopher tortoise survey data. Elyse will be an intern at the Philadelphia Zoo during the summer of 2014 and plans to graduate from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science and minor in geography in May 2015.

2013

Mike Larimore holding snake

Mike collected road mortality data and distributed more than 9,000 copies of the “Safe Roads for People and Tortoises” placard to Florida Welcome Centers, and FWC Management Areas around the state. Mike was also the education an outreach coordinator for the semester. Mike is finishing his Master’s degree with FSU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in Environmental Planning and is scheduled to graduate in August 2014.

Ryan DeSimone holding a tortoise at an outreach event

Ryan worked with several FWC biologists to create the Landowners Guide to Managing Habitat for Gopher Tortoises. This brochure provides resources for landowners who have gopher tortoise habitat and are looking for assistance on how to manage their land for native species.

Ryan graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science in December 2013. Since then he has been preparing for graduate school and currently works for the FWC call center in Ocala.

Sara Thomas holding a tortoise at an FWC booth

Sara developed guidelines for the proper release of rehabilitated gopher tortoises and mailed packages with the guidelines to all gopher tortoise rehabilitators in Florida. She was also the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the semester. Sara will be completing her Master’s degree at FSU in Urban and Regional Planning.

Kaylee Larkin holding snake

Kaylee developed the Safe Roads for People and Tortoises placard and the How you Can Help webpage to increase public awareness about gopher tortoises. She also revised the FWC Law Enforcement dispatch protocol document to assist dispatch personnel.

Kaylee graduates from FSU in May 2014 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Kaylee is currently an Intern at the Florida Geological Survey under the Department of Environmental Protection, working with GIS on the Sinkhole Vulnerability Study.

Kelly Harris holding alligator

Kelly developed a cost effective way for staff to view GIS files using Google Earth. Kelly also created a series of maps to be used in local government workshops. Kelly graduated from FSU with a degree in Physical Science and Geography in August 2014. During his last semester, he completed an internship with the FWRI Manatee program working on GIS projects. He hopes to attend graduate school in the fall to study Geography.

Andrea Wylie holding a gopher tortoise

Andrea developed the content for the Florida Gopher Tortoise App. She also and created a gopher tortoise field trip guide for teachers and educators. Andrea was the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the semester.

Andrea graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science, and is currently working for FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. Andrea is pursuing a Master’s degree in Aquatic Environmental Science at FSU.

Sarah Hovey holding a tortoise outside

Sarah developed a local government habitat assistance feedback survey for all local governments who have received funds for managing gopher tortoise habitat. She also began researching gopher tortoise road mortality, and created a data collection form that was used to record gopher tortoise road mortality locations.

Sarah is currently attending graduate school at FSU studying Aquatic Environmental Science.

2012

Bobby Wiwi holding an alligator

Bobby created the Gopher Tortoise Commensal webpage and Commensal Fact Sheet. He also set up a Flickr photo gallery to include pictures of commensal species.

Bobby graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science and worked for FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section until accepting position as a Biological Scientist with the Department of Environmental Protection

Maritza Mulkay holding tortoise at an outreach event

Maritza developed the content for 5 educational banners that are used at outreach events around the state. She also created an events notebook to track and store information on previous outreach events the gopher tortoise program has participated in. Maritza graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Studies and Spanish.

Amy Stuyvesant holding a rope on a boat

Amy created a map using GIS to display permit locations for the 3 main types of gopher tortoise relocation permits from 2009–2011. The maps were used to create display boards for gopher tortoise outreach events and workshops. Amy graduated from UCLA and is currently working for the Captive Wildlife Office at FWC. Amy will be starting graduate school in the fall of 2014 at the University of California’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management where she will work towards her PhD.

Brian Andree holding a tortoise shell

Brian created the Online Permit System Fact Sheet to provide assistance for users accessing FWC’s online permit system. He also developed and implemented a survey for all documented gopher tortoise calls, and summarized the results.

Brian graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science.

Gabrielle Johnston standing next to a container with two tortoises

Gabrielle developed and implemented a Gopher Tortoise Outreach Program with multiple PowerPoint presentations and corresponding scripts for different audiences.

Gabrielle graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Science.

William Wade talking with a group of children at a table full of tortoise related things

William developed a series of maps for the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan that displays potential gopher tortoise habitat in Florida. William also compiled GPS coordinates and created a shapefile for all local governments that have received financial assistance from FWC to manage for gopher tortoises.

William completed his Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at FSU.

2011

Marlee McCleary holding a gopher tortoise shell standing next to a table full of FWC materials

Marlee conducted a literature review of land use and gopher tortoise occupancy. She also implemented the Burrow or Structure Protection Permit call survey. Marlee earned her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at FSU. She is currently working with the Florida Division of Emergency Management as a floodplain management specialist assisting communities in mitigating for flood damage.

Tanja Hinton holding two gopher tortoises at an FWC booth

Tanja created the Captive Tortoise Care Fact Sheet and distributed it to wildlife rehabilitators, nature centers, and zoos. Tanja also designed a survey for waif tortoises and followed-up with all waif tortoise permit holders. Tanja graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Studies. Tanja currently works with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Ecosystems Projects as an Environmental Specialist III.

Brittany Sims showing a tortoise to members of the public at an outreach event

Brittany developed and implemented a customer service survey for gopher tortoise permit recipients. She also developed and distributed the Waif Gopher Tortoise fact sheet.

Brittany graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Geography and Philosophy. After graduating, Brittany was hired as the Outreach Coordinator at the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab, and currently works as a Park Services Specialist at Anastasia State Park.

Jenna Walker holding a tortoise talking to members of the public

Jenna developed Appendix 7 of the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan, Conservation-based Incentive Opportunities, and edited the Burrow or Structure Protection Permit call survey.

Jenna graduated from FSU with a degree in Environmental Studies and English. Since graduating, Jenna has worked at Mote Marine Aquarium, a zoo and an animal sanctuary. She is currently working for the City of St. Petersburg as a Marina Assistant and regularly volunteers at the Mote Marine Aquarium.

Lauren peters with field equipment at a field site

Lauren created a “Gopher Tortoise Treasure Chest” containing hands on gopher tortoise artifacts for education and outreach activities. She also developed the Wildlife Rehabilitator fact sheet with specific information on caring for sick or injured gopher tortoises.

Lauren graduated from Florida State University (FSU) in May 2011 with a degree in Biology. Since graduation, Lauren has spent the past six years working in environmental science. Lauren has worked for Archbold Biological Station and MAERC on various research endeavors, most notably with gopher tortoises, Florida scrub jays, and native scrub plants. For the past two years she’s worked for ESA Scheda, an environmental consulting firm, conducting surveys for threatened and endangered wildlife, performing wetland delineations, and writing technical reports.