Howdy! I’m Julia Fregonara, and I am so excited to join the Nisqually River Foundation team as the Water Quality Program Coordinator! I’m originally from Elkins, West Virginia, and I earned my bachelors in Biology at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. I’ve spent the past three years since graduating being the Education Coordinator at two different US Fish and Wildlife Offices: one year in my hometown in West Virginia, and two years with Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge here in Washington. Some of you may already know me by the title bestowed upon me by my students in Grays Harbor: “The Shorebird Lady!” I’ve also worked at an avian rehab center, where I did education and outreach as well as the basic husbandry of caring for everything from eagles to wrens!
Between all of these positions, the common thread has always been sharing my love of science and the natural world with anyone I can. Whether it was showing summer campers the amazing variety of freshwater mussels in West Virginia streams, demonstrating how to safely capture a salamander to the citizen science “Salamander Squad,” hearing the hush in a crowd of adults as I brought a falcon out on my glove, or watching my shorebird students gasp as they saw a flock of shorebirds for the first time, my goal is always to connect folks to the world around them in a way that feels genuine. Instilling a sense of wonder and awe allows for the cultivation of stewardship and belonging in a place that you are an important part of. My other goals include helping students understand that there is no one “right” way to be a scientist and that there is no one “right” way to enjoy nature.