Katy Hosokawa, who joined the team at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge as a visitor services intern in June 2020, began her first day as a full-time refuge ranger on Jan. 17 to assist supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland in an official capacity for a term of 180 days. She takes a position vacated by Ranger Monica Scroggin in January 2020.
“I’m so happy that we were able to get Katy on the roster as a staff employee,” said Westland. “With refuge employees decreasing by more than half over the past decade, we badly need more staff support, and Katy has proven herself to be invaluable since she came aboard as an intern.”
A native Texan from the small town of Azle, Hosokawa graduated from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in geography. She then went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, where she studied environmental geoscience. Before starting at the refuge in June, she held a naturalist position at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge in Texas.
“I love coastal ecology and birds, so Sanibel and the refuge are a perfect fit,” said Hosokawa, who also held a position as a naturalist on Little St. Simons Island on Georgia’s coast from 2018 to 2019.
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.