As an undergraduate, Jessica Kahler pursued dual interests in wildlife conservation and human ecology and culture. I received dual Bachelor’s degrees, in Wildlife Management and Anthropology, from The Ohio State University. During her undergraduate studies Jessica worked with the African great apes and Old World monkeys at the Columbus Zoo, The OSU Chimpanzee Center and the Primate Rescue Center, Inc, which enriched my understanding of conservation and the pressing need for environmental education in the general public.
Jessica served in the U.S. Peace Corps for three years in the Republic of Vanuatu where she spent two years as a Coastal Resources Management Advisor and worked with two villages to facilitate the creation of a community-based marine protected area. Jessica also worked for the Vanuatu Fisheries Department as the National Coordinator for Reef Check Vanuatu (RCV) where she worked with environmental stakeholders throughout the country, advocate the conservation of coral reefs and marine species and collaborate with various environmental NGOs. As the RCV Coordinator, Jessica provided technical trainings, educational activities, conducted coral reef monitoring, created a training curriculum and materials, and ran media based awareness.
Prior to pursuing a graduate degree, she worked in Montana as a Piping Plover Technician through The Nature Conservancy and the USFW. The position entailed conducting an annual census and monitoring the breeding success of the threatened Piping plover on private, state and federally owned alkali basins and report to both USFW and TNC. Currently, as a graduate research assistant at Michigan State University’s Fisheries and Wildlife Department Jessica’s working toward a degree in human dimensions of wildlife management and conducting research which uses risk mapping and perception to investigate the intersection between biodiversity conservation and livelihood preservation in communities adjacent to a protected area in northeastern Madagascar.