Hello! My name is Casey Black. I grew up near San Antonio, Texas and went to school at Texas A&M University until I graduated and began graduate school in Anthropology at the University Wyoming in 2022. I have been living in Laramie for a little over a year now and am enjoying every minute of my time in the West!
3rd Cohort, Class of 2023
While I’ve always loved learning about wildlife, my passion for conservation really emerged when I volunteered in the teen Summer Naturalist Program at the San Antonio Zoo when I was in high school. This opportunity opened my eyes to a whole world of conservation and I became very passionate about having conversations with the public about wildlife and the benefits of conservation projects.
When I began undergrad and fell in love with archaeology and anthropology, I always partially regretted not choosing to pursue wildlife conservation instead. During my first semester in graduate school, I realized that I could still pursue wildlife conservation through anthropology. I have now completely structured my graduate research around questions in archaeology that can help inform wildlife conservation, which has been extremely fulfilling, and I am so excited to learn more and share what I’ve found.
I knew that herpetology would be one of my favorite class subjects, but I also thoroughly enjoyed ornithology and am very eager to delve into the realm of birding. I loved the nature journaling class and our overall use of nature journaling throughout the course because I felt that it challenged me to be mindful, which is something that I find really important.
I would like to learn more about botany and invasive species. I found the classes for these topics to be extremely helpful, but I just had less background knowledge on these topics from the start, so I look forward to learning even more!
My favorite volunteer experience has been helping Mason and the Biodiversity Institute with the Salamander Migration Events in Laramie last spring. This was hands down my favorite opportunity I have gotten to participate in through the Wyoming Naturalist Program. I loved interacting with community members one on one and helping salamanders directly, and I generally just found the entire process to be so exciting and fulfilling.
My favorite spot in the great outdoors is probably the Ernst Tinaja trail in Big Bend National Park, which is a stunning trail that allows you to see beautiful geology with bright limestone layers throughout. In Wyoming, I think my favorite spot that I have seen so far is Wind River Canyon, which is just stunning, but I have a lot of Wyoming left to explore!
One of my favorite books that I have read recently is Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach. This is an extremely interesting book that looks at human-wildlife conflict and the complexities associated with it across the world. I think it brings up some really important topics while still being written in a way that is accessible to the public, and I find myself thinking about it often.
I am a sucker for peppered beef jerky and always will be, but pickles and pickle juice are a wonderful addition to any project or hike (trust me, they are better than gatorade!).
My graduate research is focused on the relationship between people and caribou in Alaska, both in the archaeological record and present day. If you want me to talk your ear off about this topic, just let me know and I would be happy to do so!
I want to thank everyone involved with the Steering Committee and the Wyoming Naturalist Program in general. This program has turned Wyoming into a home for me, and I feel like joining has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I look forward to continuing to learn about this amazing place with these amazing people.
Advanced Training: Christmas Bird Count Prep (Data Collection & Use)
Date: Dec 5, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM MT
Description: This one-hour advanced training will teach about the ins and outs of the Christmas Bird Count. We will cover counts in the state, what species to watch for, how to collect data, and how to see the data in action!
Registration Link: https://audubon.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEqcemtqTIrHdH4yuyeDYqIxcLU3H5YSAhj#/
Advanced Training: Finches of Wyoming
Date: Dec 6, 2023
Time: 6:30 PM MT
Description: This one-hour advanced training will cover the identification and annual cycle of summer and winter finches that we experience in Wyoming.
Registration Link: https://audubon.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIkc-uopj8pEt2uIdWGVq0ZLznTHMA_Bcqt
Service Project: Goshen Hole Christmas Bird Count
Location: Torrington, WY
Date: Dec 17, 2023
Time: 07:30 AM MT
Description: This is a Christmas Bird Count Circle ONLY for Wyoming Naturalists.
Registration Link: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=sbEynMiwLUK3p4WdG-ylI_nEjHXETh5EjeCaQk8LwbJUQ0hDSVhYNUg5TUdZMlZXUkxEVFhNU1daRC4u
Service Project: Wyoming Christmas Bird Counts
Date: Many counts from Dec 14, 2023, to Jan 5, 2024
Description: There are Christmas Bird Count Circles in almost EVERY community in Wyoming. Visit the link below to contact your local compiler to register!
More Information Link:
All CBC Circles: https://audubon.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=ac275eeb01434cedb1c5dcd0fd3fc7b4