Refuge hires deputy refuge manager
Erin Myers joined the staff at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge this month as the new deputy refuge manager. She comes from a position as the private lands biologist for South Florida.
Myers served as a collaborative partner with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program developing and implementing wildlife management plans, managing multi-agency restoration programs and coordinating partnerships between government and non-governmental agencies and the public.
“Erin has demonstrated her leadership skills by actively engaging in some of Florida’s biggest conservation challenges,” acting Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea said.
She is a founding member and past co-chair of the Florida Invasive Species Partnership, co-chair of the Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, past chair of The Wildlife Society Invasive Species Working Group, and past president of the Florida Chapter of the Wildlife Society.
After growing up in Texas, Myers studied to become a wildlife veterinarian at Texas A&M University. She went on to earn her master’s degree in wildlife pathology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Her career goals later took a different turn that landed her in Florida in 2001. Myers took a position with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, first working in North Florida.
“I (a) fell in love with Florida, and (b) fell in love working with private landowners,” she said.
She spent two and a half years in that position and another 11 years in her previous job in South Florida before accepting the position at the Sanibel refuge in early March.
“My first trip to Florida in 2001 was to Sanibel,” Myers said. “It was a whole other world that I fell in love with. My husband and I decided we wanted to be back in this specific location. It is a dream come true, really.”
Myers looks forward to helping with upcoming USFWS studies on the Sanibel Island rice rat, an at-risk species that recently received federal funding for recovery research at the refuge’s Botanical Site.
“Although everything is a bit chaotic with COVID-19, I’m trying to help keep refuge management moving forward and learn all I can about the refuge workings,” she said.