Realty and What it Means with US Fish and Wildlife Service
Written by: Jenny Goebel
My name is Jenny Goebel, and I work as a Realty Specialist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the regional office within Region 3. Our mission is “Work with landowners to purchase and protect habitat for wildlife and future generations of the American people”. The lands we acquire become part of national wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas, or conservation easements on private property.
My conservation career wasn’t very straightforward. I graduated with a B.S. in Ecology way back in 2013 and spent 7 years working at an animal shelter caring for cats, dogs, etc. I needed a change and wanted to get back into conservation work. Over the last year, I worked as an ACE fellow on a project for the Division of Realty at the US Fish and Wildlife Service that involved going through hundreds of legacy files related to all the land Region 3 has acquired to date!
Some of these files dated back to the early 1920s and the information about the land itself dated back even further! With the project complete, I hoped to continue working within the federal government. Luckily, a Realty Specialist position opened around the time my fellowship was ending, and after going through the interviewing process, I was selected!
The hiring process for government positions can be challenging, but I was able to get a ton of good advice using the connections I made through my fellowship that made the process make more sense. The more connections you can make, the more experience you can draw from! Don’t be afraid to reach out!
I’m thankful to continue working in the Midwest/great lakes region. Not only is my family here, but the Midwest region also has a lot of migratory birds and waterfowl. This makes it an area that has a lot of need for protected habitats, but also has a lot of support for protecting those habitats! It makes the work that much more rewarding!
My favorite project so far was looking through all our legacy files during my fellowship! Most Realty Specialists work on acquisition projects that are more recent or currently in process. While looking through files, even ones from the 1920s, the basic process is pretty much the same as today! You still need to sign deeds, get title work done, do a survey, etc!
Being a Realty Specialist is not a role most people in conservation know about, or get into conservation to do. Many people want to be out in the field doing research, but there are so many other roles out there doing critical work! As a Realty Specialist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we are adding more land to the refuges! My advice for anyone is to take any opportunity to get your foot in the door. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up really loving it!