Her dream career: instilling a love of nature

Savannah Maiers, dark hair, blue T-shirt and gray vest, holds a gray, cream, black, white and orange osprey on a gloved hand.

“Snakes are one of my favorites,” says Savannah Maiers, a 2015 graduate of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS).

As wildlife coordinator at Minnesota’s Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, Maiers handles all kinds of critters and sees to their health and quality of life. But some of her favorite moments come when she’s teaching about unloved animals like snakes and gets to watch fear give way to fascination.

“They’re commonly misunderstood,” she says of the slithery reptiles. “Watching someone who’s really afraid calm down and even work up the courage to touch a snake is a very moving experience. All of our snakes have distinctive personalities, and it is fun to watch others get to know them.”

Besides snakes, anyone can sense her love for ospreys, the center’s namesake fish-eating birds. However, she first learned about the center—then called the Audubon Center of the North Woods—in her senior year at CBS not through studying reptiles or birds, but through a course in mammalogy. She began by taking a fellowship at the center in 2016, and became wildlife coordinator two years later.

Best of all are the moments when she’s teaching children about nature and they start asking questions. Maiers lives for the days she can witness those “lightbulb moments” when kids have “meaningful moments in nature.”  

The center sits on the shore of rural Grindstone Lake, northwest of Hinckley, between the Twin Cities and Duluth. 

Read more about Savannah Maiers and her work in this original College of Biological Sciences post.