Lauren Jaebker

I'm a Colorado Native, growing up in Colorado Springs where my childhood was spent in the Rocky Mountains, either camping, hiking, hunting, but mostly fly fishing. In 2010, I moved to Fort Collins to begin my academic career at Colorado State University - little did I know this decision would spark a passion in me that I would carry on until this day. 

During my last semester of college, I was chosen by the head of my department to attend Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLFT); a development course for 'natural resource leaders', where I was taken on my first pheasant hunt - I was hooked. Although I'd grown up hunting & fishing with my dad, he had passed away before I went to college and before I fully started to enjoy and understand the meaning of hunting and conservation. The CLFT course reignited an old flame. After 4 long years and one kick ass conservation course, I received a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology; with a concentration in Wildlife Biology. 

After college, I worked various field technician jobs such as a Bat Technician in the Piceance Basin of Colorado, an Avian Influenza Technician for the USDA, a Wildlife Technician for CPW focusing my efforts on reintroduction of chukar into the Poudre Canyon, and a Biological Science Technician for Wildlife Services focusing on epidemiology, wildlife reproduction, and virology. I've had the privilege to work in the field almost every day with so many different species of wildlife including bears, mountain lions, elk, bighorn sheep, various bird species, raccoons, skunks, mongoose, horses, and much more. I've seen firsthand how hunters and the conservation community has had such a positive impact on public lands and the wildlife that resides in them.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that my continued efforts as an Associate Wildlife Biologist, either trying to conserve elk populations for hunting purposes or prevent the spread of diseases such as rabies, would all be in vain, if as a researcher, I neglected the most fundamental component of them all - humans. In 2018, I went back to Colorado State University to pursue a master's degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, focusing my research efforts on an invasive species, specifically human-wild pigs interactions. 

Now that graduate school is over, I work full-time as a Research Associate contracted through CSU and Wildlife Services.  Now that I have a little bit more free time, I'm able to ramp up my advocating efforts for conservation of our public lands, particularly in the form of hunting and easy access to land and water. Hunting to me is more than just type two fun, ya know?  Hunting is that of a privilege, as well as a way for me to provide a healthy meal for myself, my friends, and my family. Hunting allows me to get outside & reset myself - that in itself is priceless. 

Last year, my partner Will was lucky enough to harvest a mule deer. Since then, we've made hundreds of home-cooked meals with venison. The best part about it - cooking brings us together. We're able to laugh and enjoy each other's company, knowing exactly where our food came from - there's no better feeling. 

As of this summer, I've started a new hobby, gardening. It hasn't been very fruitful, yet - to be continued. When I'm not working, hunting, or fly fishing, you can find me enjoying a river beer in the summer or downhill skiing in the winter.  

With that, I'm lucky to be able to get outside, hunt and fish, but most importantly stand up for these wild things that are so near and dear to me - for not just me - but for our future generations to love, respect, and enjoy. 

Cheers.

Find Lauren on Instagram at @ljaebker