We’re excited to introduce the newest addition to our conservation team. Schyler will focus on our community science and monitoring initiatives. He recently completed his MS degree, where he studied landscape ecology and remote sensing methods. He spent a lot of time in his undergrad birding, bird-banding, and contributing to ornithological research — including 3 years catching kestrels and collecting data with Kelsey Biles. He also worked at the Fort Worth Nature Center, where he spent time leading nature education programming. His experience with data analysis, birding, and bird-banding enable us to grow our science efforts.
Schyler answered a few questions for us so everyone can get to know him a little better.
1. Who is your hero?
My parents are my heroes. My family comes from a lower income part of rural Washington State, and we didn’t have a whole lot of money. Watching my parents struggle was hard as a kid, but their commitment towards me and my siblings showed me how much they loved us. They dedicated everything to us, working two jobs each while trying to get through college. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have the privilege of working in my dream job at Houston Audubon.
2. What is your favorite thing about your career?
My favorite thing about my career is that I get to give back to the planet. By using birds and their habitats as a medium for conservation, I am simultaneously contributing to the conservation of the biotic and abiotic factors within an ecosystem.
3. What is your favorite book?
I absolutely loved Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles. It re-tells the story of the Greek classic The Iliad, from the perspective of Patroclus. Through a fresh and modern prose, Miller reminds us that our actions can have unexpected consequences for those we love. I love this book so much because does such a great job of tugging at your emotions.
4. Who is your favorite author?
Mary Oliver is a poet that my fiancé shared with me when we first met. I was given a copy of American Primitive, a collection of poems centered around themes of humanity, focused through metaphors of nature (seasons, life and death, decomposition). Her writing is very personal, intimate, and relatable. The heavy themes are made accessible by the relationship they have with the natural world. I can’t get enough of Mary Oliver, and take her writing with me everywhere I go.
5. What are your hobbies?
Reading, playing my violin, backpacking, fishing, birding, and coffee tasting.
6. Which form of public transportation do you prefer?
If I could kayak everywhere, that is what I would do.
7. If you could share a meal with any individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
I would love to share a meal and a conversation with Steve/Terri Irwin, E.O. Wilson, President and First Lady Obama, Dr. Jim Bendarz, and my fiancé. Steve and Terri Irwin, E.O. Wilson, and Dr. Bednarz are my inspiration for conservation. Their passion for ecosystems and how we fit into them is impressionable and I would love to hear their perspectives and wisdoms personally. The Obamas are my favorite White House duo and I believe through their political experience, I could learn a lot about how conservation can be promoted in politics. My fiancé is the smartest human being I have ever met, and would bring a lot of interesting perspective to the conversation.
8. What was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school was always science class because we were learning about why and how the world works. The teachers for science classes were always the most passionate too, and taught me that passion and enthusiasm can make a huge difference in how people reciprocate what you are trying to discuss.
9. Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?
In high school I had environmental science with Mrs. Reese. She was so much fun, full of passion and joy for the natural world. The best part of her class was our nature walks. Most importantly she reminded her students that we should care for the natural world because we depend on it. We are not separate from it, but are a part of it.
10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I lead a conservation organization focused on attaining as much continuous land as possible to help create heterogeneous landscapes that plants and animals depend on. Ideally, I would manage these landscapes via experimental management- a somewhat risky (but effective in the long term) management technique that involves using the scientific method to discern what conservation techniques work best in conserving/restoring native landscapes. I also want to teach the world that doing simple things like planting native gardens, buying local/seasonal food, and reducing the amount of goods we buy can significantly improve the health of our beautiful planet for future generations.
Please join us in welcoming Schyler to the Houston Audubon team!
2 thoughts on “Welcome to Schyler Brown, Houston Audubon’s New Conservation Specialist!”
Any chance anyone from Houston Audubon might take me and my daughter around High island and Anahuac on May 5th looking at birds? We’re good birders in California but at sea in Texas. Compensation or donation.
Hi David! We have a free guided bird walk at Smith Oaks on May 5th that you’re welcome to join (no registration required). Here’s a link to our spring events: https://houstonaudubon.org/sanctuaries/high-island/spring2023.html
Our High Island volunteers are really helpful in pointing out birds – just let them know at the visitor kiosk that you’re from out of town and would like some assistance. If you’re on Facebook I’d also suggest following the High Island page to keep up with bird sightings and what’s happening at the sanctuaries: https://www.facebook.com/highislandtx