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My Work is Wild

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My Work is Wild

This 2021 Zoom series will explore non-traditional careers working with wildlife and animals. Each month will feature a new expert who will share with us via Zoom their educational and career path - experts like wildlife veterinarians, conservation officers, zookeepers, herpetologists and more! Geared toward high school students, but open to the entire family, My Work is Wild will be online once a month starting in January. Click on the links below to learn more about our speakers and to register!


  • Halley Buckanoff has her Bachelors of Science in Biology and is a Certified Veterinary Technician, Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator, and Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist who currently works for the Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at North Carolina's Zoo in Asheboro, North Carolina which provides free veterinary care to injured and orphaned native wildlife with the intent of release back to the wild.

    Ms. Buckanoff is originally from Weston, Connecticut and was previously was an ornithological field biologist. Currently, she is a Master bird-bander and is curating post-release survival studies on commonly hand-reared orphaned backyard birds. She is a current member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

  • Kristopher Stahr has his Bachelors of Science in Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota University and his Masters of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology from Oklahoma State University. Mr. Stahr works to conserve endangered fish species by creating innovative approaches to improve the long-term survival of threatened and native fish species and understanding the effects of invasive species on sport and native fish populations.

    Mr. Stahr is an Iowa native who has worked in his field in the Nebraska Sandhills, Iowa, and spent 5 years with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He is a member of the American Fisheries Society and several regional and national aquatic invasive species panels and task forces.

  • Dennis Ferraro is a Lincoln, Nebraska native who holds a Bachelors of Science in Zoology from Iowa State University, and two Master of Science degrees in Animal Ecology and Biology from Iowa State University and University of Nebraska- Omaha respectively. He also has an Associate’s Certificate in Entomology and began PhD work before taking a faculty position with University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

    Dennis strives for the education, awareness and conservation of the world's herpetofauna and is a member of a plethora of biological organizations including the Society of Conservation Biology, Partners for Amphibians and Wildlife Conservation, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Nebraska Master Naturalist program.

  • Chris Helzer is a conservation ecologist, photographer and published author. His photographs and essays can be seen in NEBRASKAland Magazine, Wildflower Magazine and in media for The Nature Conservancy. Chris has created ‘The Prairie Ecologist’ (, a highly successful blog about prairie ecology and education and has authored two books published by the University of Iowa Press – “The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States'' and “Hidden Prairie: Photographing Life in One Square Meter”. These all coincide with his goal of introducing the beauty, diversity and value of grasslands to everyone.

    Chris is originally from Aurora, Nebraska and holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from University of Nebraska- Lincoln in wildlife biology and landscape ecology respectively. He is a member of the Nebraska Chapter of The Wildlife Society and the Grassland Restoration Network. He has studied, restored and photographed prairies for more than 25 years!

  • With a Masters and PhD in Entomology, you could say Dr. Wu-Smart knows her ‘bug stuff’. But when she learned about the rainbow-colored ‘Orchid Bee’ early in her career, she became immersed in the beguiling world of bees.

    Dr. Judy Wu-Smart is a California native who currently works at University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Entomology department. She has co-written an arms-length of scientific papers and won several awards in her field- she focuses her career on pollinator health and conservation. She is also the current president of the American Association for Professional Apiculturists, an active member of the Entomological Society of America, and a board officer of the Nebraska Beekeepers Association.

    When not ‘saving the bees’ she strives to incorporate art, science and nature into her everyday life and has presented at dozens of scientific conferences, guest lectures, industry conferences and public events.