Lindsey Rich


Lindsey Rich


I have my BSc and MSc in wildlife biology from Colorado State University and the University of Montana, respectively, and nine years of field-based research experience. Currently, I am a PhD student at Virginia Tech; I received a Cunningham Fellowship to study carnivore ecology under Dr. Marcella Kelly. I have been fortunate enough to work and teach both nationally and internationally. In 2010, for example, I was an instructor at a wildlife research techniques conference in Bhutan and in 2012 I lead a conservation-based study abroad program in Botswana. I enjoy collaborating with a diverse range of stakeholders, such as state and federal agencies, international research institutes, and local communities. These collaborations have resulted in multiple scientific publications and population models that are being used, for example, to manage and monitor carnivores in Montana and Idaho, USA and in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain and Portugal. For my PhD, I am working in collaboration with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust to identify and implement a sustainable method for monitoring carnivore communities across northern Botswana. Following my PhD, I aspire to conduct research that contributes towards the conservation of wildlife and their habitats by integrating rural community development with wildlife conservation.


Blacksburg, VA, USA

What draws you to the STIA conference?

The conference’s focus on understanding complex environments in order to instill lasting change is extremely appealing to me. I also enjoy that participants come from such a broad range of backgrounds because I would like to learn how to reach an audience that expands beyond the scientific community.

What are you hoping to experience?

I am at the beginning stages of my career so I am eager to learn from people that have successfully turned their ideas into actions. I also hope to receive advice on tools and methods I can use to effectively share my research with an international audience, to build capacity in Botswana so my monitoring program will be sustainable, and to ensure Wild Joys, the conservation outreach program I am starting for children, transitions in to a permanent program.

What are you most passionate about?

I have always had an innate curiosity and love of nature. My family relocated throughout the United States seven times by my twelfth birthday. As a result, I continually explored new places and took advantage of the novel learning opportunities they afforded. To this day, I am mesmerized by the diversity of cultures and ecosystems in our world. My desire to learn about these foreign places and to do my part in conserving them for future generations defines my career aspirations.

How do you see transformation occurring from this conference?

I see myself learning an entirely new skill set at this conference which will allow me to become a more effective conservationist. In order to implement systematic changes that will conserve wildlife and their habitats, I need to be able to build a shared vision with a broad audience and have the tools and knowledge of how to navigate complex environments.

What’s your bigger vision?

My bigger vision is to have a career that makes a tangible difference. I want to carry out cutting edge wildlife research, build capacity in countries like Botswana so that they are no longer reliant on western scientists, and inspire current and future generations to care about conservation.

What needs to happen for you to evaluate this STIA+ experience as a success?

I will classify the conference as a success if I have positive interactions and am able to network with a diversity of participants, if I learn a new set of tools that will improve my own research and Wild Joys (outreach program), and if I leave the conference inspired and thinking beyond my scientific bubble.