Careers, Motherhood and Mountain Living

Conducting fisheries research on the S Fk Salmon River, Idaho 1986 
I think I was hardwired from the beginning to work outdoors. I loved fish and I wanted to know everything about them. I received my Master of Science degree in Biology/Limnology in 1985, followed by a 20 year career working as a Fisheries Research Biologist. It wasn’t easy, however. In 1977, I was one of 3 women in a class of 40 taking fisheries classes at Peninsula College, WA. I took time out of college to gain experience, conducting fisheries research on the mainstem Columbia River for Douglas County PUD in East Wenatchee, WA, and also Washington Water Power in Spokane, WA. My big break was with USFWS working on Lake Roosevelt, WA in 1982-83 as a Fish Biologist. From there, I entered graduate school at Eastern WA Univ in Cheney, WA in 1984, finishing in 18 months. For my Masters degree I conducted a baseline water quality study and nutrient loading analysis on Spirit Lake, Idaho. Following graduate school I worked for the Army Corps of Engineers at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, then Idaho Dept. of Fish & Game as a fish technician. It was hard accepting a lower grade title and wage with an advanced degree, but again, it was 1985 and there were not many female fishery biologists. I was a pioneer in many ways, entering a male dominated field. But that didn’t stop me. I returned to work for USFWS conducting selective predation studies in the lower Columbia River before moving back to Idaho in 1991 when my daughter was born. Things changed from then on. I wanted to keep my career, and I wanted to be a full-time mom. Somehow I managed a deal with IDFG, to hire me permanent part-time year round work from a home office (with benefits & a retirement). Yes, in 1991 this happened. I never had to send my child to day care. I managed to work in my chosen profession from home, and raise a family along with many dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, horses and sheep. It was a wonderful life, and a full life. Now that my daughter is grown up, and I have left my fisheries career behind to start my own business, I feel the freedom and pleasure of being an entrepreneur. Making energy bars, and creating a business that I can be proud of, one bar at a time. It has been an organic process, much like my life. I’m grateful for all of the opportunities in both work and life, and continue to enjoy nature living on the edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness here in NE Oregon. I still work part-time 3 days a week at a natural history museum during the summer months, which keeps me connected to the science and natural history world out there. The life of being self employed and an entrepreneur definitely has its challenges, but it also offers a lot of rewards and freedom. #fueljoradventure

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