A person in a blue top with long blonde-brown hair smiles in front of a view of a tan beach and rocky cliffs with dark green trees and a cloudy blue gray sky.

Welcome Carly Hirschmann

We have great news: our coworker Carly Hirschmann has shifted roles to become our Community Engagement Assistant, dividing her time between working with the Xerces Society’s Ambassador volunteer program and Bee City USA! We’re so happy to have her more involved with the Bee City and Campus community. You may already recognize Carly from Xerces Society and Bee City webinars. We asked Carly a few questions, so you can get to know the newest addition to our team:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello everyone! I am an avid outdoorsperson who enjoys camping, hiking, road trips, photography, volleyball, and discovering off-trail waterfalls. About two years ago, I got my first drone as a hobby, and I love creating and editing videos from that footage in my spare time. In the long-term, I am hoping to incorporate this hobby into my work. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from Portland State University, where my favorite subject was marine biology. I have lived in Oregon all of my life. A love for the ocean, and particularly whales, was passed from my grandmother to my mother, who then passed that passion on to me. I love spending time on the Coast and whale watching, and my family took frequent trips to Orcas Island in the San Juans growing up. One of my favorite memories is gently dragging a stick through the water and seeing the bioluminescence from the marine dinoflagellates there. 

It is a life goal of mine to visit all of the US National Parks — a recent highlight for me along that journey was getting to see the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone this past summer. I absolutely love hearing other people’s travel stories, wildlife experiences, and particularly how getting out into nature has inspired their conservation work. 

What is your favorite pollinator species?

Oregon silverspot butterfly (Argynnis zerene hippolyta)

What is your favorite pollinator plant?

Nelson’s checkermallow (Sidalcea nelsoniana)

How did you get interested in pollinator conservation?

I have always been passionate about environmental protection, and particularly wildlife and the impacts of climate change. I happened to move right next to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (on the southwest edge of the Portland metro area) before starting high school, and would spend hours every week there in my free time. After I graduated from Portland State University, the refuge seemed like the natural place to start getting my feet wet in the field, and I soon started out as a volunteer there.  In what might seem like an odd twist of fate, the community engagement coordinator who brought me on as a refuge volunteer was Rachel Dunham. Rachel left the refuge shortly after to become Xerces’ Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator and we are coworkers again! 

My favorite at the refuge activity was setting up the scope for visitors overlooking the wetlands, or beneath the great horned owlets. While at the refuge, I developed an interest in habitat restoration. I got to plant out acres of pollinator meadows with volunteers, create pollinator gardens in the parking area, and install purple martin nest boxes. Seeing how quickly those nest boxes were inhabited, and hearing their beautiful song as they returned the following spring, was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences that I have had. When I became a biotech for a season, I got to participate in the release of Oregon silverspot butterfly larvae on Saddle Mountain towards the Oregon Coast. This is what first piqued my interest in pollinators. A short time later, I got to participate in a bumble bee survey in which Xerces staff member Rich Hatfield gave a demonstration on catch and release data collection. I also got to participate in multiple freshwater mussel projects and fish salvages, of which I had no idea what to expect going into. My mind was blown the first time I saw snorkelers in five inches of water, or an electrofishing backpack. I really took an interest in Xerces after those projects, and was considering applying for a seasonal mussel technician position when the outreach and events assistant position became available at Xerces. I am incredibly grateful for all of the amazing opportunities and experiences that I was involved in at the refuge and mentors met along the way that led me to Xerces! 

What are you looking forward to in your new role?
In my previous role with Xerces, I got to interact with the staff on a regular basis and learn more about them and their conservation work. Moving into this new position, I am excited to get to learn more about our Bee City and Campus affiliates, as well as our Ambassadors, in the same way! One of my favorite things about working at Xerces is being surrounded by people who are all extremely passionate about and committed to the work that they do. There’s certainly no lack of enthusiasm in the world of wildlife conservation, and there’s so much opportunity for creativity and collaboration in outreach. I am grateful to continue growing along with Xerces and all of you!

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