Prairie and Native Plant Careers

Dr. James Trager

James C. Trager

Restoration Biologist (1991-2019)
Shaw Nature Reserve
Franklin Co. MO

Where did you study and what was your major field of study?
“Undergrad Biology at No. IL Univ. was where I was first introduced to prairies.
MS in Entomology further provided opportunities to know prairies, Univ. of KS
PhD in Entomology with additional coursework in botany, Univ. of FL”

Briefly describe your current job.
Retired, but still an active volunteer and advisor at Shaw Nature Reserve

How do you use your native plant and/or prairie knowledge in your career today?
See above.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your current work?
No end to enjoying and learning more about nature, and sharing with interested public!

What native plant/prairie classes or trainings were especially important to your career?
Field Botany at No IL Univ., Summer 1972, was the beginning of my prairie enthusiasm.

What other subjects have you studies that have been important to your career?
Any of numerous organismal or taxonomic courses taken 1971-1982

Please describe volunteer or field work that was formative to your education and career.
Interested in nature since a very young age, supportive parents and friendly birder or gardener neighbors in the various neighborhoods where I lived were very helpful.

What materials and technology are must-haves for your field?
Eyes, ears, nose, hand lens, field guides, and technical floras and faunas

What advice would you give students or others wanting to go into your field?
Learn as much natural history as you can, by whatever means you can, even if your research is lab-based.