Elizabeth Huggins

Elizabeth Huggins
Flyaway Biologist
Wildlife Class of 1982

Elizabeth Huggins
Placerville, CA

Many people want to fly and many people love working with animals but few people get the opportunity to turn both those passions into one career. Elizabeth Huggins, however, found a job that does just that.

Huggins, granddaughter and daughter to pilots, was the first female hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and one of only a dozen flyaway pilot/biologists. To get this interesting job Huggins has to be able to perform low-level flying techniques while simultaneously identifying and counting up to 30 different waterfowl species.

Huggins is part of the group to working on the Waterfowl Breeding Pair Population and Habitat Survey, the longest running wildlife survey in the world. The survey extends over nearly 2.1 million square miles covering territories from Alaska to Maine and several Canadian provinces.

Even though Huggins is a waterfowl specialist that doesn't stop other local wildlife and management staff from constantly creating more work for Huggins. By tracking radio telemetry signals she has surveyed everything from endangered suckerfish to sea otters, sage grouse, wild horses, elk, antelope and bald eagles. Even though it is considered work, Huggins thrives on the variety of jobs and the new learning opportunities they present.

Huggins grew up with piloting in her blood. She chose HSU for its excellent wildlife management curriculum. By harnessing her own passions and talents together with her education, she has achieved her dream.