After graduating in May 2017, Leo worked as a Biological Science Technician (GS-5) on the Exotic Plant Management Team for the National Park Service. The Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) at the Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) is responsible for controlling invasive exotic plants within the parks of the National Capital Region (NCR) and occasionally assists parks in adjacent regions. As one of seventeen established EPMTs within the National Park Service (NPS), the NCR-EPMT inventories and maps all exotic vegetation and develops strategies for controlling these plants. Regional management of exotic species encompasses approximately 26,300 hectares (65,000 acres) that span the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Due to the numerous and varied habitats of the NCR, eradication methods and/or strategies for control are developed specifically for individual species and parks. The successful management and restoration of disturbed areas are accomplished through partnerships between the NCR-EPMT, park staff, and numerous volunteer groups concerned with invasive exotic plants. The EPMT engages in an active outreach program providing information to interested volunteers and community groups.
He has since returned to Colorado State University to begin a Master’s degree in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology.
What advice do you have for current students or recent grads?
My advice to current students and recent grads is to obtain the knowledge to identify any species they might be working with. For example, if they want to be a plant ecologist, I would suggest taking plant identification classes and be familiar with the species in the region they want to work in. Also, if they want to advance their careers as a researcher or be in a managerial position at some point, they will need a graduate degree, so plan ahead!