Prairie Education

Chelsea Wisner and Greg Thompson, her field mentor,
in the Florida Dry Prairie at Avon Park Air Force Range.

With a Bachelor of Science from New York in her back pocket, Chelsea Wisner was eager to launch herself into the professional world of conservation. She said, 'After a lackluster experience in the Midwest, and a stint as a hostess at P.F. Chang’s, I was offered the opportunity to join the Archbold family in February of 2017 as a seasonal field biologist. The coming months at Archbold proved to be a profound extension of my education and milestone for my blossoming professional career.' Wisner worked on the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow monitoring project at Avon Park Air Force Range under the tutelage of Greg Thompson. The work was 'mentally and physically demanding' waking up before the sun to collect data on an 'extremely reclusive bird' including erecting predator deflection fences around each nest. Wisner continued, 'The range is home to a very small, but reliable population of sparrows. Since Greg and I had so few birds to monitor, we became well acquainted with each individual (the males especially).' Wisner moved on with a whirlwind field job tour out West for a year with her partner, whom she met at Archbold. The two returned to Florida in 2018. The student has become the teacher as Wisner accepted a permanent job with Archbold in 2019 to lead the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow field project at the range. 'I am incredibly excited to be back on the range working side-by-side with my friends and colleagues on such a challenging and rewarding project'.