Jimmy HartleyJimmy Hartley, a senior wildlife and fisheries management from Fairmont, West Virginia, is currently conducting research on the distribution of the eastern hellbender in the Greenbrier River watershed. The hellbender is a large, stout-bodied, fully aquatic salamander that serves as a good indicator for clean water. Populations of the illusive salamander are, unfortunately, on the decline. Read on to learn more about Hartley's research and what inspires him.
Patience, perseverance and excitement
What and who are impacted by your research
I hope to impact hellbenders and help bring them their well deserved attention. Hopefully through my research we can find ways to help protect them and find the places they need protected. I want the hellbender to be a staple to the mountains of West Virginia and for future generations of people to be attracted to these places for its natural beauty and wonder. The hellbender to me represents that, being cryptic it is comparable to bigfoot in its sense of mystery
I love West Virginia and its natural resources - especially its stream ecosystems. Nothing captivates me more than this. The hellbender is an important species in this area that is almost endangered. I want to preserve them; after all, every species of animal is a gift from God. Some people are called to be priests or nuns, I feel called to preserve God's naturals gifts.
Many people have inspired me in my life - especially my family. My father would take me out of school at a young age, so we could fish and explore the National Forest. I learned more on those days than any day in school. My mother never discouraged me from playing in the woods, like most parents. No matter how muddy I got she always found a way to get the stains out. Other people like Steve Irwin and Jeremy Wade showed me that careers in the natural resource world existed and made me curious about this field.
I would love to help solve water pollution problems. Especially starting in headwater streams. Everyone needs water to survive and we should protect it for everyone.
If you could have any superhero power, what would you choose and why?
I would choose the power to manipulate time. I would love this power as I could accomplish more tasks in a day and be able to fix mistakes I’ve made in the past. However, I’d use it carefully to be sure not to affect anyone inadvertently.
Get involved with your major or group of interest. The American Fisheries Society has offered me so many invaluable opportunities. Along with this, just stay positive, do something fun to blow off steam and take your mind off of your studies. However, be safe and stay close to your roots like family, friends, religion and hobbies.