provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Jeremy Conrad, lead biologist for the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, has been promoted to the position of regional coastal ecologist for the inventory and monitoring branch of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). While he will remain based at “Ding” Darling, his post will take him throughout the 12-state/territory USFWS Southeast Region.
Conrad joined refuge staff in March 2010. Before that, he served as an invasive species biologist at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, Florida, and earlier spent four years at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
During his 11 years at “Ding” Darling, Conrad became known for his important research on linking mangroves with sea level rise mitigation and also as a popular speaker on everything from sea turtles to marshland ecology.
“It has been a great pleasure working with all of the staff and volunteers at the refuge and the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society,” said Conrad. “In my tenure at ‘Ding,’ we have weathered a few hurricanes, significant red tide events, HABs [harmful algal blooms], massive fish kills; executed prescribed fires; battled non-native invasive plants; endured a coyote invasion; found a black bear on island; seen record sea turtle nesting efforts; completed several restoration projects; built a marine lab; acquired new conservation property; and served our community by prioritizing and protecting Sanibel’s natural resources through it all.”
During the transition, as the refuge reviews steps it will be taking to fill his position, Conrad says he will continue supporting the “Ding” Darling’s biological program along with Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea and Deputy Refuge Manager Erin Myers. The refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) are also co-funding biological technician Avery Renshaw to assist with the transition.
“Jeremy has been a valuable member of our team for many years. He will be missed from our team, but it is also exciting to see Jeremy grow professionally and be recognized as an ecologist who can be of value to the entire region,” said Godsea. “Luckily he will continue to work out of the refuge office, so that we can continue to see and interact with him.”
As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop profits. To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.