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The Southeast regional office of Ducks Unlimited hired a University of Arkansas at Monticello graduate as its new state waterfowl biologist, according to a news release.

Jake Spears started his new job at Jonesboro on Monday. Spears graduated from the UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources in August 2020 with a master of science degree in wildlife ecology and management.

In his new role, Spears will assist private landowners and state partners in improving waterfowl habitat on their properties. He will help them enroll eligible lands in federal conservation programs such as the Wetland Reserve Easement Program.

At UAM, Spears worked in the lab of Douglas Osborne. His research examined the perceptions of Arkansas duck hunters on the change in water management plans on green-tree reservoirs managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, according to the release.

"Jake will be working closely with our state and federal partners to coordinate technical aspects of private lands habitat conservation projects in Arkansas," Tim Willis, Spears' supervisor, said in an email. "He will also serve as primary contact for our NRCS project delivery and assist with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Green-Tree Reservoir Enhancement Initiative."

The program works to improve forest health on numerous wildlife management areas across the state to help improve future hunting opportunities, according to the release.

"As you can see, Jake's background will complement our conservation efforts in the Natural State and help grow our overall conservation programs throughout the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. I am very excited to welcome him to the Conservation Team and the Ducks Unlimited family," Willis said.

Jake Spears
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