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Refuge hires two staffers

By REFUGE / DDWS - | Feb 16, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Avery Renshaw

This month, two new federal employees clocked in at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel. Avery Renshaw will fill the newly created position of biological technician, and Lindsey Voegele steps in as administrative payroll and travel technician for multiple Florida refuges.

Renshaw, who worked at the refuge from April 2019 to last December as a biology intern, assisted senior refuge biologist Jeremy Conrad with his mangrove fertilization doctorate project, which included field data collection and sample processing.

“In her new position, she will be working with me on all things biological related,” he said. “This includes research, surveys, restoration, water quality and planning.”

Due to lack of hiring funds in the budget, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is partially supporting Renshaw’s first-year salary. Hers is a four-year term position.

“Thank you to ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society for supporting my first year in this exciting new position,” she said. “They are helping to make it possible for me to pursue my dream career.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Lindsey Voegele

Originally from Mount Airy, Maryland, Renshaw previously interned with Mote Marine Lab’s Coral Reef Ecological Processes Program in the Keys. She graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s in environmental science and studies with a biology concentration from Towson University in Towson, Maryland.

“Through my internship, Sanibel Island and its natural ecosystems have become important and significant places to me, so when this job opportunity arose, I had to apply,” Renshaw said. “I wanted to continue contributing to the refuge’s mission to protect and preserve the island’s wildlife and natural habitats. I’m especially looking forward to important restoration efforts at the newly acquired refuge habitat.”

Voegele, who is currently working remotely from Oregon, will arrive in March to make the refuge her home base for working with the Crystal River, Florida Keys Complex and Southwest Florida Complex national refuges, which includes “Ding” Darling, Florida Panther and Ten Thousand Islands.

She will arrive from the Bureau of Land Management in Coos Bay, Oregon, where she worked as an administrative assistant. Voegele graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and she has worked for other land management agencies including the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

“I have lived in the Fort Myers area previously, and I am excited to enjoy sunshine, beaches and the beautiful Florida coast once again,” Voegele said. “I am looking forward to learning more about the refuge. It is always fun to discover the behind-the-scenes activities each refuge is working on.”