Curtis Twellmann joined the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) in November 2020 as a regional R3 planner with the Illinois Learn to Hunt program, a collaborative effort between INHS and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources designed to recruit, retain, and reactivate (R3) adult hunters.
Curtis’s interest in science goes back as far as he can remember, and his early experiences with hunting, fishing, and trapping led him to study wildlife and natural resources.
“I started going hunting with my dad when I was too young to hunt myself. Even at 6 or 7, being around the wildlife and wild places of my home state of Missouri encouraged me to seek out more information,” Curtis explains. “I quickly subscribed to Zoobooks magazine and a couple of other wildlife-related publications to learn all that I could.”
Curtis earned a bachelor of science in wildlife ecology and conservation from Northwest Missouri State in 2012.
After graduating, he spent the next three years working field technician jobs—studying pheasants in Nebraska, songbirds in Nevada, and geese in Alaska. In 2014, he became project manager for the Institute for Wildlife Studies’ predator research and management crew on San Clemente Island, California.
In 2017, Curtis joined the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an assistant furbearer ecologist. There he coordinated the mandatory trapper education program among his other duties.
In his new role with the Illinois Learn to Hunt program, Curtis is looking forward to “helping to connect folks to the outdoors in new ways and learning more about the most effective methods of doing so.”
“I cannot think of anything more fulfilling than helping to get more people out in the field developing strong connections with the land,” he said.