This month, two new federal employees clocked in at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on Sanibel Island. Avery Renshaw will fill the newly created refuge position of biological technician; Lindsey Voegele steps in as administrative payroll and travel technician for multiple Florida refuges.
Renshaw, who worked at “Ding” Darling from April 2019 to December 2020 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,” said Conrad. “This includes research, surveys, restoration, water quality, and planning.” Hers is a four-year term position. Due to lack of hiring funds in the refuge budget, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is partially supporting Renshaw’s first-year salary.
“Thank you to ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society for supporting my first year in this exciting new position,” said Renshaw. “They are helping to make it possible for me to pursue my dream career!”
Originally from Mount Airy, Md,, Renshaw previously interned with Mote Marine Lab’s Coral Reef Ecological Processes Program in the Florida Keys. She graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and studies with a biology concentration from Towson University in Towson, Md.
“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,” said Renshaw. “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 be arriving in March to make “Ding” Darling her home base for working with Crystal River NWR, Florida Keys NWR Complex, and Southwest Florida NWR Complex, which includes “Ding” Darling, Florida Panther, and Ten Thousand Islands refuges.
She will arrive in March to “Ding” Darling from the Bureau of Land Management in Coos Bay, Ore, where she worked as an administrative assistant. Voegele graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and 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,” said Voegele. “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.”
As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop profits.
To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or [email protected].