Conserve Wildlife Blog

Staff Spotlight

June 17th, 2024

by Leah Wells, Wildlife Biologist

Leah grew up in Sussex County, where she enjoyed spending her time as a child and adulthood outside in nature. She graduated from Rutgers with a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. In 2019, Leah joined Conserve Wildlife Foundation as an intern, in 2020 she then became a part-time employee and this past March became a full time wildlife biologist. 

As the coordinator of the Summer Bat Count and Mobile Acoustic Surveys, she is responsible for engaging our citizen science volunteers to conduct these surveys. Leah also works on our other bat-related projects such as mist-netting and radio tracking. Along with bat work, she assists our other biologists with their projects. 

What is your favorite species and why?

An impossible question… Bats obviously hold a special place in my heart as they were my first species to work with in this field. If I had to pick a bat species it would be the hoary bat. I think they are our cutest bat species in NJ and always a treat when we catch one in a mist-net. 

Otherwise, I really love birds. If I had to choose, I’d say chickadees are my favorite. I love their little personalities and seeing them at my feeder in the winter. 

What is the most surprising or unusual thing that has happened to you while doing field work? 

Working in the field comes with a lot of unexpected adventures. I would say it’s always a surprise when you come across wildlife you don’t normally get to see. Last year I walked up on a porcupine strolling through the woods. A year prior to that I got to see my first ever wild bobcat. And then there’s the not so fun things that happen during field work, like walking through a tick nest or falling into a river with chest waders on. You never know what you are going to encounter while you’re out in the field. Everyday is something different. 

Who or what was the biggest influence that led to your career working with wildlife?

I’ve had a connection to wildlife for as long as I can remember and have always wanted to work with animals in some capacity from a young age. My mom was and always will be my biggest supporter who pushed me to follow my dreams. 

What’s the best thing about your job at CWF?

Being able to do what I’m most passionate about and being able to make a difference in the world. I’m also very thankful for all the people in this field I’ve gotten to know through working with CWF. 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

I love yoga and try to go to as many classes as I can each week. I also am a big reader and have a goal of 50 books this year.

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