Todd Black knew a typical desk job wasn’t for him. So he set his sights outside the office and devoted himself to becoming a wildlife biologist.
“I knew I didn’t want to wear a shirt and tie to work every day, and I wanted to work outside,” he said. “I grew up in southeastern Utah, where you do that when you grow up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, you like going out and hunting and fishing and trapping and doing all that kind of fun stuff .”
Black became Eagle Mountain’s first wildlife biologist and environmental planner earlier this year, and perhaps one of the first to work for a municipality in the state, another stop in his already long career as a wildlife biologist.
“If someone had told me that you would be working for a council at the end of your career, I would have said, ‘No, I’m not doing that,’ he said. †
It was the uniqueness of the Eagle Mountain position that initially attracted Black.
“I’m sure there are big cities in other states that employ wildlife biologists, but I’ve never heard of them anywhere,” he said. “This is an exciting position.”
In his new role, Black will educate city decision makers, colleagues and the public about the potential effects of Eagle Mountain’s continued expansion on wildlife habitats and the environment. Among other duties, he will also plan for wildlife and open space conservation.
Black’s greatest motivations as a wildlife biologist are preserving species, especially those close to his heart, such as mule deer and sage fowl, and resolving conflicts between humans and nature.
“In this position, you will be working in that arena where you have a lot of conflicts between humans and nature, and what can you do to solve those problems?” said black. “We humans live on the landscape and need a place to live, but so do wildlife. So it’s always been an intriguing thing to me, how to balance those things and have win-wins for everyone.”
Prior to his position at Eagle Mountain City, Black was a research associate extension specialist at Utah State University. While he works there, he touts the work with the community-based conservation program and their slogan, “If it’s not good for the community, it’s not good for nature.” It is a motto that Black uses to inform his work and to continue to strive for balance between people and nature.