Rachel Tooker served as a crew leader from 2008-2010 in Rochester, MN and Ames, IA, working on prescribed burning, invasive species removal, oak savannah restoration, trail maintenance and prairie restoration. Meeting and working with resource professionals and members of the Corps – who maintained great attitudes regardless of conditions and were passionate about making a difference in natural resources – was the most meaningful part of her time with the Corps. She also appreciated project hosts who were great about teaching the crews new skills and sharing the value of the Corps.
Tooker’s Corps experience proved valuable as she went on to look for a job. “Not only have my seemingly endless hours of chainsaw work come in handy, but I learned other technical skills that gave me a boost when it came to landing other positions. My experience increased my confidence in performing any task asked of me,” she said.
She now works as an experimental biology aide for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, serving on a research crew studying the habitat use, movement and mortality of Black-tailed deer. Her crew gathers data by capturing, collaring and monitoring the deer in Western Oregon. She also works on developing methodology to estimate deer density, surveying elk (from helicopters, as shown in the photo) and trapping turkeys, among other duties. Says Tooker, “I am one of the luckiest people in that I love my job and most days when I go to work I am doing exactly what I had always wished I could do.”