Balancing the Conservation Equation
January 27, 2022
Meet TLA's Edward O'Daniels
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE LONGLEAF ALLIANCE?
As the Cogongrass Coordinator for The Longleaf Alliance, I work to bring the many partners together with private landowners to work together on a landscape scale to push out this noxious invasive species.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN CONSERVATION?
For years I was an electrician, then many years in retail sales. It was during this time that I helped a customer who happened to be a wildlife biologist. Talking with him, I began an even deeper fascination with natural resources. That’s when I decided to go back to school and make a career change. It was the hardest, yet the most worthwhile, decision of my life. Once I made that call, I never looked back.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MOMENTS ON THE JOB?
I would have to say my favorite project has been shooting an educational video with Wild Wander about cogongrass. It was a ton of fun jumping from location to location and working with the crew to share what I do with the many partners and landowners.
WHAT’S SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I am also the Restoration Project Manager for the cleanup and restoration of Tyndall Airforce Base as a result of Hurricane Michael.
WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD ABOUT LONGLEAF?
I would like to see more people really understand the importance of inputs and outputs of the longleaf ecosystem. Things that are not naturally here should not be. This includes invasive species, but also trash and concrete as well. On the other hand, we can enjoy many outputs of the ecosystem without causing detrimental harm if we take care to not remove too much.
The people living and working in longleaf pine have a diversity of jobs, backgrounds, personal experiences, and interests. The People of Longleaf series strives to share these voices so that everyone interested in longleaf feels welcome, respected, and valued for the perspectives they bring to the table.
Just as every tract of land and habitat is unique, so are The Longleaf Alliance staff and the people we serve.