Bethann Merkle

Occupation: Communications consultant, author, artist & educator

Bethann’s Research Ecology-related work:  A fair portion of my work is as an editor and illustrator for scientific papers on ecology, food systems, and public health topics.  My ecological interests include natural history, place-based education, community-based conservation initiatives, scientific illustration and drawings in field notes, and the integration of ecological principles into community development and agricultural systems.

Education: B.S. University of Montana – Environmental studies (emphasis in sustainable food and agriculture), with minors in wilderness studies and studio fine arts

Favorite Plant Species: ANY native edible plants (berries, roots, etc.); the complex suite of plants found on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front (limber pine, aspen, hardy perennial wildflowers, etc.); edible plants that ‘volunteer’ in my garden

Best Sampling Road Trip: I am fortunate in that I get to “sample” from the many biologists and ecologists I know – black bear captures, tagging painted turtles, outdoor education, etc.  I get to tag along, help out, and help communicate about the work without being responsible for crunching the numbers.

Places I’ve Lived: All over Montana, and currently in Quebec City, Quebec (eastern Canada)

In my Field Backpack: sketchbook and watercolors, Nikon DSLR camera, pocket knife, water, nuts, dried fruit, bear spray, layers of clothes, extra blister prevention paraphernalia, a tea bag, and my ID.

My first science-related communications project: I had the good fortune to work as a naturalist/artist-in-residence for the Watershed Education Network during my undergrad.  While in that position, I collaborated with WEN’s founder to develop a place-based field journaling curriculum to accompany the watershed monitoring they conduct with local students and citizens.  I was also commissioned to illustrate 30+ aquatic macro invertebrates for a wetlands field guide, and wound up designing a new logo for WEN which features several key indicator species.

My Most Recent Science-Related Communications Projects:  I have been working for the past two years with authors and researchers whose first language is not always English.  I find it both challenging and immensely satisfying to contribute to research being conducted all over the world.

Places I’ve Done helped with research:

1. Missoula, MT – reducing human-black bear conflicts

2. Mission Valley, MT – painted turtles (effects of highways on habitat connectivity)

3. Missoula, MT – seed collection (comparisons of invasive vs. native plants)

4. Western MT – wolf activity monitoring

5. Quebec, QC, Canada – kestrel habitat project

6. Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada – plains bison range expansion

Bethann’s Contact Info: 

1 thought on “Bethann Merkle

  1. Pingback: Conservation photography as more than just a hobby: Part 2 | Early Career Ecologists

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