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Habitat Restoration Specialist


Description

We have not been very kind to our planet lately. Over the past 200 years or so, we've been burning coal, sucking up a lot of fresh water and polluting the oceans. Our forests are disappearing and the animals on the endangered list all too often slip onto the extinct one. Fortunately, habitat restoration specialists are on the case.

These scientists incorporate the use of biological systems and sound engineering principles to restore aquatic and terrestrial habitats suffering from erosion and industrial damage. They monitor the oceans, rivers, and forests, and provide information and technical assistance on habitat protection and restoration to government agencies, conservation groups, and developers. Some work for an environmental organization or the government, while others work as consultants. They report on current conditions, as well as analyze the impact new developments or human activities will have on these habitats in the short and long run. They also create and implement plans to restore the polluted and degraded habitats, bringing them back to life.

Some focus on plants, while others focus on animals. Some focus on water and aquatic ecosystems, in both fresh and salt water. Regardless of how they work, habitat restoration specialists are interested in preserving and recreating healthy habitats. They do this by documenting things like existing plants, animal and plant populations, migration patterns, chemical and other pollutant levels, and soil conditions. They watch, feed, count, and trap fish or wildlife. They also help re-stock populations in a particular area. They are sometimes involved in projects to test or improve natural habitats or resources.

Habitat restoration specialist usually spend a lot of time working on repetitive tests, counting, and analysis, as well as writing reports. They also work on community outreach, hosting meetings to discuss community issues regarding the restoration of local habitats. If they work for an agency or as a consultant, they may also be in contact for months following the project, to ensure that their plans and suggestions are in fact being put to good use.

Even though humans continue to place a strain on the environment, we are also doing what we can to reverse and prevent that destruction. Habitat restoration specialists are key players in that attempt.
 
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Ashford University
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in working as a habitat restoration specialist? They must have a strong interest in nature and a concern for the environment. They should have concern for all animals, and enjoy being physically fit. Habitat restoration specialists must possess good communication skills, both in person and in writing. They require tact, diplomacy and confidence in their ability to handle difficult people and situations. They need an eye for detail, as well as patience. They must able to remain calm in stressful situations, and be thorough when problem-solving. Habitat restoration specialist need to be skilled at compiling information, gathering data and samples, and working with people. They must also be able to work well alone and live alone when research requires they work in remote locations.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Monitor existing habitats for signs of decay
  • Count flora and fauna within habitat
  • Test water and soil for chemicals and pollution
  • Design strategies to reverse destruction
  • Reintroduce plants and animals to environments
  • Habitat restoration specialists spend part of each day outdoors, but just as much time, if not more, is spent in offices and labs, developing programs for environmental rehabilitation. Research is done often to learn more about species of flora and fauna and natural habitats. They may travel if a project demands it.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Habitat restoration specialists can work anywhere in the nation, wherever there is habitat in need of help. They can be found as employees of the governmental associations concerned with environmental protection, working closely with biologists in fish hatcheries, consulting firms, on game farms, and with non-profit conservation agencies. They can be sent to rural and remote locations. They work outdoors, year-round and in all weather conditions, as well as spend time in an office.
  • They usually work long hours, and can be hard at work in the predawn hours of the morning, or during the darkness of late rural nights. They often work weekends and holidays.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Habitat restoration specialists can work in rural areas, or work in urban centers, monitoring wildlife in surrounding regions. They can advance to supervisory positions, or turn to work as conservation officers. Some may become police officers, environmental activists, teachers, or instructors at postsecondary institutions. Others move on to become land use and rural planners.
 

  Educational Paths  
Individuals wishing to work as habitat restoration specialists need to work on their math and science skills. It is recommended that they work towards a degree in biology, microbiology, botany, environmental science, ecology or another related degree at a university, or try for a diploma course in resource management. The diploma will get interested individuals in the door, but only the university degree with get them into higher levels of research. It is a good idea to volunteer with a wildlife preservation or environmental group to gain experience in this field.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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