Outdoor enthusiast Jake Lux switched to a new role at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) in January 2021; now he’s a conservation resource specialist with the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)!
Born and raised in Beardstown, Illinois, Jake was snared by science at age 11, when he helped staff with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources band Canada geese.
Jake went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in zoology with a focus in wildlife biology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC).
He was often asked, “If you are studying zoology, are you going to work in a zoo?”
But Jake chose to take his career in a different direction.
While studying at SIUC, Jake worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Waterfowl Parts Collection Survey, also known as the wingbee. Through this survey, hunters send in parts (wings or tails, for example) from the birds they harvest, and then biologists and volunteers review the parts to determine species, sex, and age. These data provide estimates of waterfowl harvest, as well as harvest breakdowns by sex and age, that biologist can use to help set waterfowl hunting seasons.
After graduating, Jake joined INHS as a technician with its Forbes Biological Station. There he assisted with overwater nesting bird searches and with a Wood Duck telemetry project examining the species’ post-breeding season movements in the Illinois River Valley.
Now Jake’s excited to work with the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) on a multitude of things, from signing landowners up to put their land in a CREP practice to visiting easements to conduct compliance monitoring. He will also assist with land management and data collection on CREP land as needed.
Outside of work, some of Jake’s favorite pastimes include hunting, fishing, and boating on the Illinois River.