Introductions

The Early Years

Courtney holding a toad at 8.5 years old
Me back in 1997 holding an American Toad. Although my love for amphibians hasn’t changed, hopefully my hair-style has from my tomboy mullet days

Hi, I am Courtney!  I grew up in rural Wisconsin running through fields and ponds catching frogs and butterflies.  I probably knew how to identify critters in a field guide before I could fully read.  When people asked me the ultimate question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I answered them with: “A Frogologist!”  At the time, to me this meant finding frogs that got hit by cars on the road and using one of those hand air pumps (for sports balls and bike tires) to de-flatten them and bring them back to life… I was a very optimistic child.

The College Years

I eventually accepted that I couldn’t create frankenstein frogs with an air pump and that ‘frogologist’ wasn’t a real term, but I never lost my curiosity for the natural world.  In time, I went to university and received a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Wildlife Ecology and Biology.  During my undergraduate days I was involved with our herpetology society (the study of reptiles and amphibians, including frogs) and was involved in research with brine shrimp (sea monkeys!).  Around this time I learned that as much as I loved the natural world, I more so loved sharing this passion with others and started volunteering for teaching experiences whenever I could.

The Grad School Years

I spent the next four years in graduate school between two different universities with two different research projects.  During my first two years I studied how aquatic acidification affected the development of aquatic invertebrates.  I then switched gears and finally studied my beloved amphibians (frogs and salamanders) and their lung development.  Throughout grad school I also continued my love for education through teaching a wide variety of undergraduate biology labs  (i.e. physiology, anatomy, genetics, and introductory biology) throughout all four years.  I loved it!  I gained more informal teaching experience by volunteering to lead nature hikes. 

The Post Grad Years – Present

Courtney holding a frog at 31
Me in 2020 with a froglet (small frog that hasn’t yet lost its tadpole tail). Like I said, the love for amphibians hasn’t changed

After completing a Master of Science degree in Biology, I spent the next two years serving as a conservation focused AmeriCorps VISTA.  My first year was as a Conservation Educator at an aquarium’s conservation institute and the second year as an Environmental Educator at a Land Trust.  I now work for a conservation organization where we hire young adults to spend 3+ months doing conservation crew work.  It is an awesome program!  I have lived in multiple states and enjoy traveling to see as much nature as possible.  I consider myself an environmental educator, physiologist, development biologist, and environmental biologist.  I will never stop trying to learn more and share this knowledge with the world. I look forward to building up this website and sharing my world with you!

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