Career Corner

Imagine leading nature tours at a state park, mapping aquifers for new sources of groundwater, or crawling into a cave to check on bat populations. These are just a few of the career opportunities you might find in conservation. Your love of the outdoors can lead to a fulfilling career that benefits wildlife and the environment.

For details on career paths and educational requirements, check out these career resources.

Careers in Fish and Wildlife Conservation (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries): This Web page offers an excellent overview of fish- and wildlife-related careers plus tips on planning your career path, including school courses and volunteer work to consider in high school.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Careers (PDF link): Includes information on becoming a

  • Fishery Biologist
  • Wildlife Inspector
  • Outdoor Recreation Planner
  • Park Ranger
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • And more….

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

  • Career Cards: From archeologist to wildlife biologist, these cards offer quick tips on a variety of BLM jobs.
  • Student Page: Provides links to employment opportunities for students.

U.S. Forest Service

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11
This publication offers very detailed information about the nature of the work, qualifications, and employment outlooks for these conservation careers and many more:

CAREER PROFILE

Leah Miller, Clean Water Program Director, Izaak Walton League of America
Leah Miller literally got her feet wet during a summer internship – and has been working to protect our nation’s water quality ever since.

After her sophomore year of college, Miller joined the intern program at the Maryland Department of the Environment, where she was assigned to the small creeks and estuaries program. “I got to go out in the field and observe some of the stream restoration projects funded by the department. I learned quite a bit about stream ecology, stream functions, and how you restore streams – and I fell in love with that.” Miller was so inspired that when she returned to Yale University at the end of the summer, she added a second major in Environmental Biology (her first major was Political Science). The following summer, she interned with the tributary team at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and she continued to engage in water work after graduation.

Miller was hired in 1998 as the Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams coordinator. “I was familiar with the Save our Streams program through my internships and the program’s publications. I was impressed by the fact that volunteers did stream monitoring and worked to protect watersheds, and that’s something I wanted to help advance.” One of her first projects for the League was to write a wetlands conservation book.

Many publications and many field projects later, Miller is directing all the League’s clean water programs. “The reason I love working at the League,” Miller says, “is we have so many dedicated volunteers who are willing to get out there to monitor local streams, talk to decision makers to advocate for clean water, and educate people about water quality issues. But there aren’t enough of us. We need to engage more people in this effort and let people know this is a critical situation, not only for fish and wildlife habitat but for the water we drink and play in. We need to make water quality a priority again.”

Miller sees non-point source pollution as our biggest water challenge, and the solution lies at each of our doorsteps. "This pollution is not coming out of a factory pipe. It’s the result of our everyday activities like driving a car, walking a dog, or eating food grown on a farm that uses excess fertilizer. If we’re not all involved in solving the problem, it won’t get solved.”