Student Resource Pages - Nature CSI! - Greg Conley
- What made you decide to do this for a living?
- Mainly my love of the outdoors. I grew up having boats and loved to fish and bird hunt. Out of high school, I already knew I wanted a degree in some type of fisheries related field. Growing up in Lubbock, there were no real major lakes close by, so I spent much of my time fishing in the ponds and small lakes within the city limits. While growing up, my family vacationed at Possum Kingdom Lake. It is there where I really developed a love for the diversity of aquatic systems. After High School graduation I went to Texas Tech University and got a B.S degree in Wildlife Management and a M.S. in Fishery Management.
- What do you like most about your job?
- The variety I experience while doing my job. I am on call 24/7, therefore much of the time I do not work by a schedule. Pollution, whenever it occurs, makes my schedule for me and I never know where I am going next when I get a call.
I could be walking a creek, jumping over barbed wire fences through the woods of East Texas, investigating an oil spill and its impacts to the fish and wildlife resources in the affected area. I could be in a canoe on a river or on a larger boat in a lake looking at a disease-related fish kill.
I personally own horses, so, I have actually been on a fish kill down a large creek on horseback.
- What equipment do you use for your job?
- Three very important pieces of equipment for me are my laptop, my digital camera, and a GPS.
- What advice would you give to a child interested in nature forensics?
- Take all of the science and biology classes you can while in school. After high school get a degree in Environmental Science, Fish Biology, or Wildlife Biology.
Learn how to use all of the latest electronic technology at your disposal (i.e. laptop computer, GPS, digital cameras, and mapping software).
Experience nature at its finest as often as you can with friends and family to allow you to gain personal knowledge of the outdoors and your love for it will grow.
- Tell us about the TPWD Kills and Spills Team (K.A.S.T.).
- My official title with the Kills and Spills Team is "Pollution Biologist." I feel very honored and proud to be a member of the team. I think the team is made up of a group of very knowledgeable biologists. I also feel it is a very prestigious position to hold in the agency. I began applying for a position on the Team since about 1994 and finally was given the chance in 2002.
"My name is Gabrielle Conley. I am fourteen years old and my dad, Greg Conley, is a pollution biologist.
It is definitely interesting having a dad who does this kind of job for a living. Whenever something toxic or bad, like oil, spills into a lake, creek, or river, he receives a call and has to go investigate. This means we will never know when he has to go out of town for a day or two to do his job. When this happens it is always bittersweet because, of course, I miss my dad, but I also get some fun alone time with my mom.
I don't think that just anybody could handle my dad's job because you have to be able to be around a lot of nasty things like dead fish, yucky oil, and even get into the water sometimes. Often, when he comes home afterwards, I happen to notice a slight stench from whatever he was around that day.
Every now and then, when he has to go out of town for meetings, my mom and I get to go with him. I really enjoy being allowed to join him on these trips. We have a very good time. Sometimes my mom and I even volunteer to help out with certain things at his meetings.
The best thing about my dad being a pollution biologist (no matter how unappealing this job may sound) is that my dad enjoys it."