Conservation Specialist Nicole Ahr joined the District in 2015 and has been a valued addition to the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District team from the onset. Ahr is an experienced biologist with an undergraduate degree from University of Oregon and a masters degree in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University.
Ahr gained important experience with the U.S. Forest Service, the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Prior to joining the Clackamas SWCD, she was employed by the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District. Much of her professional focus has been on wildlife habitat, including on-the-ground projects, as well as data analysis and statistical modeling.
A Strong Passion for Oregon White Oak and Wildlife
Ahr works collaboratively with District staff, partners, and local agencies on a wide variety of projects. She was instrumental in helping to bring Audubon’s Backyard Habitat Program into Clackamas County to aid landowners in creating valuable wildlife habitat in our urban communities.
Additionally, she has been instrumental in the development and implementation of an Oregon white oak habitat initiative, including an oak habitat Conservation Implementation Strategy (CIS) to help rural landowners with planning and funding for oak restoration projects. Ahr also serves as the District representative on the Intertwine Oak and Prairie Working Group (OPWG). This group covers the Regional Conservation Strategy area in the Greater-Portland-Vancouver region.
Ahr is a steering committee member of the Oak and Prairie Working Group. She also works with other local SWCD partners to develop and update a Strategic Action Plan for oak and prairie work in the region. This plan includes goals to increase oak conservation activities in rural and urban areas and to develop an oak mapping prioritization tool for the region. She provides presentations regularly to local and regional groups on local oak habitat work.
“Wildlife habitat, including the habitat provided by oak, has always been my favorite pursuit,” says Ahr. “My dream job has has always been to work outdoors with native plants, fish, and wildlife.” She shares that this was one of the main reasons she was attracted to her position with the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. “I especially enjoy working with private landowners. It provides opportunities to apply knowledge in an effective and productive way.” She says she thrives on the diversity and variety of her work, and takes joy “in bridging science with real, on-the-ground projects.”
A local Oregonian, Ahr grew up in rural Corvallis and describes her younger self as ” a nature-loving, adventurous child.” “I always had a deep affinity for nature and wildlife, starting with plants and birds, and it just grew from there,” she states. She notes that her parents, who hold degrees in horticulture and Fish and Game, also had an influence on her development.
Ahr is looking forward to developing further expertise in a variety of conservation practices as she continues to work with the District. She is exited to help people create wildlife habitat on their properties as part of a more comprehensive conservation plan for their property. Oregon white oak habitat is an Oregon conservation priority that will continue to be priority for her as well!
Ahr’s love of nature and wildlife spills over into her personal life. She even has oak trees in her own yard. She enjoys spending time outside with her family and loves the beach. You can frequently find her involved in family activities like camping, hiking, biking and birding. In her own words, she’s “a real outdoors woman.”