Meet the man behind the beard: Will Moseley. He's a little bit Bohemian and a little bit Daniel Boone with a big passion for agriculture.
The Stillwater, Okla., native left his hometown for dusty Lubbock, Texas, to pursue a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries management. He later completed his master's degree in range and wildlife management at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Today, Moseley, 29, serves as a wildlife and fisheries consultant with the Noble Research Institute.
Growing up, he traveled across the country in a pop-up trailer, camping and fishing with his family. Those experiences, mixed with one fateful day on the Noble Research Institute wildlife unit, set the stage for his life's pursuit. Below, he discusses snakes, guitar strings and how his career is a perfect match for the sum of his experiences.
How did you come to the Noble Research Institute, what drew you?
Some Noble Research Institute consultants who knew my dad professionally invited him and his sons (me included) to come to the wildlife unit in Allen, Okla., for a doe hunt. I always wanted to do something in natural resources, but I never knew exactly what. The wildlife staff showed me some of the research they were doing on deer, and it blew my mind. From then on, I knew wildlife management was it.
Did you have any other interaction with the Noble Research Institute?
I interned at the Foundation as an undergraduate. Now, as a consultant, I realize that the longer you're here, the more relationships you build with landowners. You get to see the impact you make on their lives. It's amazing when someone tells you what your help has meant to them. I get Christmas cards. It's really touching.
What's a typical day like for you?
It's different every day, which is one of the great things about this job. One day I'm on a farm visit, helping a producer. Another day I'm inside writing up a management plan or helping with a tour for youth.
How's working with youth?
I absolutely love it. Working with kids and showing them the fun side of science has always been a passion. It's exciting to see a group of kids really get into an activity. They keep me on my toes!
Sometimes their questions are more difficult than the ones I get from agricultural producers because they're not afraid of asking the wrong question or what some people perceive as a stupid question. It's just questions to them, and they're never dull.
What was your first day here like?
I was extremely nervous. I was fresh out of graduate school when I moved here, and I thought I knew quite a bit about wildlife management. Then the first day, I got that first phone call from a rancher asking me what to do with their property, and I realized how little I knew. It was a sobering moment. Luckily, we have a solid team that provides that real-world training.
Do you have any phobias?
Snakes. It's an awful, debilitating fear. It's paralyzing. I can't even look at them.
Um ... But you're in wildlife. Don't you encounter snakes frequently?
My first week at the Foundation, an employee called me because she caught a snake on a glue board in her laboratory. I was the only biologist around that day, and she needed me to remove it. I psyched myself up and went over there, looked at it and completely wimped out. I finally had to tell everyone I don't do snakes. It was embarrassing. If a farmer has a snake issue on their place, they can call me, but don't expect a visit (he laughs).
What is your favorite childhood memory?
It's a collection of memories from our family vacations. We camped our way to different places, like to my parents' professional meetings or my brother's summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia. We spent weeks on the road, and they are my favorite memories as a kid. It's where I developed my interest in the outdoors.
What kind of music is on your iPod?
It's very eclectic, anything from European gypsy folk to western swing to electronica. I love music, and I try to go to lots of concerts. I attend the Austin City Limits Music Festival with 120 bands and eight stages every year, and I always come back with a new favorite band.
Do you play music?
I used to play a lot, mostly guitar and singing. I've been in multiple bands, but my favorite was a three-piece bluegrass band in graduate school with a banjo, fiddle and guitar. We would play at grad student get-togethers, the annual crawdaddy hoedown and impromptu sing-alongs in friends' driveways and backyards. It was just for fun, and we had the coolest name: Children of the Cornbread.