Welcome, New Staff!

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Every year, the Field Conservation Department brings on seasonal staff to help with the massive amount of fieldwork our tiny department has to get done. Many of these seasonal staff return to work for us in future years and go on to become permanent employees. We’re excited to introduce our new staff for 2022, below – please give them a warm welcome, and look forward to guest features on the blog and field photos from them as well! 

Jimmy Welch 

Hi, my name is Jimmy Welch. 

I am a 2019 graduate from the University of New England, with a degree in animal behavior and environmental science. Both during and after undergrad I have been fortunate to be able to work with many different species for research and conservation projects. In the past I have worked with seabirds, songbirds, prairie dogs, sea turtles, freshwater turtles, snakes, and more. Through these positions I have been able to contribute to important research and conservation for a variety of wildlife species. I was a seasonal field technician last year and I am excited to be back on the Zoo New England Field Conservation Team. As a field biologist I will contribute to several conservation initiatives, however, my main focus will be on Blanding’s turtles. One of my favorite conservation activities is radio tracking. It’s always so satisfying to capture a difficult turtle after the hard work of navigating the wetland and pinpointing their location. 

Gabby Suazo 

A person in an orange shirt, chest waders and singlasses measures the carapace of a wood turtle using large calipers.

I’m Gabby and I am the Wood Turtle Field Biologist for the 2022 field season. I am a 2020 graduate of Framingham State University where I studied wildlife biology. During my time there and beyond, my focus has been songbird and owl banding. My senior research project at FSU investigated the influence of audio-lures on the sex ratio of captured Northern Saw-whet Owls. Although most of my field experience has been with birds, I am very excited to learn from my colleagues and gain more experience with turtle research. 

In my free time, I enjoy kayaking, indoor rock climbing, birding, and visiting the plethora of craft breweries in New England. I am always up for a discussion on birds and other native wildlife! 

Kirsten Ward 

A person with a green shirt and gold name badge smiles at the camera while holding a small brown owl on a gloved hand.

My name is Kirsten Ward, and I am a graduating senior from the University of Massachusetts Boston, majoring in Biology and minoring in Cognitive Science. I grew up in Western Massachusetts and took part in lots of outdoor activities growing up including softball, field hockey, soccer, hiking, gardening, and walking my dogs. I grew to love and appreciate the outdoors and wildlife, and because of this I pursued a degree that gave me the chance to learn more about the life that surrounds us. My studies connected me to ZNE, and I have been able to work with them at the Stone Zoo as an Educational Interpreter for several years, solidifying my passion for wildlife conservation and most specifically, sharing that passion in the way of educating others! Continuing my work with ZNE, but now in the Conservation Department, is an opportunity to combine my passion for wildlife education with hands on conservation. My favorite part of working with ZNE has easily been the relationships I have formed with colleagues who share my excitement and commitment towards conserving wildlife, as well as connections I’ve made with the public through wildlife conservation education!