TIFTON—Miranda Wilkinson just loves being outdoors surrounded by the wildlife of Mother Nature.
A native of Clearwater, Fla., Wilkinson found her niche at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where she studied for her bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management. Like many other ABAC students, Wilkinson fell in love with her classmates, professors, and the curriculum.
“At the beginning of my senior year, I began doing a mentored research project under Dr. William Moore and Dr. Vanessa Lane,” Wilkinson said.
The research involved a countywide survey of Loggerhead Shrikes. Shrikes are a bird species of concern for the state of Georgia due to decline in their population.
Wilkinson found the locations at which the Shrikes occur within Tift County so that the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources or an ABAC student can continue to do research on the home range and habitat of the birds.
Because of this research, Wilkinson was able to create a poster that she presented at the Georgia Chapter of the Wildlife Society meeting in 2018 and the National Collegiate Honors Conference in Boston in 2018.
“At one of the conferences, I ended up landing a job that I was able to start after I graduated from ABAC in December of 2018,” Wilkinson said.
Right after graduation, she began to work for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as an assistant field technician under Todd Schneider. In this role, she did research on Henslow’s sparrows for five months.
Wilkinson was then afforded the opportunity to travel around the country for a summer to do research with the Smithsonian Institute. During this time, she did research on yellow-billed cuckoo birds. Due to a decline in population, Wilkinson’s job was to assist in catching and tagging the birds with a satellite transmitter.
Shortly after that summer was over, Moore contacted Wilkinson about an opportunity at the Jones Center at Ichauway. The Jones Center is a 30,000-acre pine preserve in southwest Georgia. This position was a two-year position working in the conservation and land management department as a technician.
“While working there, the Foundation that runs the Jones Center was going to pay for the person to do a graduate degree at the University of Florida,” Wilkinson said. “I immediately jumped on the opportunity and applied because I wanted to do my master’s degree and working at a place like Ichauway was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Wilkinson began working at the Jones Center and pursuing a master’s degree in Conservation and Ecological Restoration at the University of Florida in January.
“During my time here, I get real world, hands on experience with everything imaginable,” Wilkinson said. “Prescribed burning, tractor work, working with endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, mechanics, research, population surveys, trapping and more.”
For more information on the Natural Resource Management degree at ABAC, interested persons can contact Dr. William Moore at email@example.com or call him at (229) 391-4805.