Do you know the tale of the western tanager’s migration?

 Steve Tapia will tell stories of how three different animals prepare for winter.  First, he will describe the migration story of the beautiful western tanager, who looks like an escapee from our gift shop. Second is the ever-present coyote, the subject of tales from many cultures, and, finally, the story of our savvy survivor, the pika.

Steve Tapia is a local author, who resides in Taos.  He is known for his book De la Tierra: The Natural World of Northern New Mexico, a fact-filled guide to the wildlife and plants of Northern New Mexico. “Teaching people about wildlife and nature is in my blood,” says Tapia. His passion to teach inspired him to write De la Tierra. It also fuels his storytelling.

Tapia tells his life story:

“I began my 27-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Cooperative Education (COOP) student in Princeton, Minnesota working as a Refuge Manager Trainee.  As a small-town boy from Taos, New Mexico, I was like ‘a fish outta water!’   I was still a college student at New Mexico State University, this was simply a work phase of my education.  The next work phase was as a Refuge Manager Trainee at Trempeauleau National Wildlife Refuge in Trempeauleau, Wisconsin, then, lastly, as a Refuge Manager Trainee in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.  I then graduated from NMSU with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Wildlife Science in 1987.

“The good thing about the COOP Program is the agency places you in a permanent position if you successfully complete your COOP work phase(s), which I did!  I was then placed at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma, Arizona and then transferred to the U.S. Forest Service in Enterprise, Oregon as a Zone Wildlife Biologist. I worked for the Wallowa Valley Ranger District, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area in a zone capacity.  Toughest job I ever loved!

“I then transferred to the Pikes Peak Ranger District as a District Wildlife Biologist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where I spent 17 years.  I loved the area, the job, and my career…I said it once, I’ll say it again, ‘do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!’  The last transfer I made was to Flagstaff, Arizona as a NEPA Writer.

“I retired from government service in this position at the GS-11, Step 8 grade level after 27 years because of the progression of multiple sclerosis.  However, teaching people about wildlife and nature is in my blood.  That is the reason for De La Tierra…The Natural World of Northern New Mexico.  I truly hope you will enjoy the book!”

No registration is required. Admission: free.

Image courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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