Fish + Game Changers
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is about so much more than fish + game, with leaders on every level changing the face of conservation and blazing new trails for a better Maine outdoors. This podcast takes you behind the scenes with MDIFW public outreach specialist Katie Yates, exploring the unique and diverse work done by department staff across the state. Listen in to learn why these game changers love what they do, and what drives them to apply their time and talent to the Maine outdoors.
Meet the host of seasons 1-6: Katie Yates
Katie’s interest in conservation and outdoor storytelling first came about while working as a Park Ranger at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas where, against the backdrop of 46,000 acres of Chihuahuan desert, Katie would present history, legends, and lore to visitors. Originally from upstate New York, Katie moved to Maine in 2018, and has since sought to experience everything the state has to offer. From ice fishing to turkey hunting, this former vegetarian is fully embracing life the Maine way.
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SEASON SIX: In the Field
Host Katie Yates goes behind the scenes with Department staff across the state. In season six, she meets up with a fisheries biologist in the Grand Lake Stream region, chats with the state’s deer biologist, checks out a hatchery with a fish culturist, learns why a landowner relations corporal is so passionate about keeping Maine open for recreation, goes behind the scenes with the busy licensing division, and talks about snakes and turtles with a wildlife biologist.
July 19, 2021
Episode 5: Making a Difference with Landowner Relations Corporal Rick LaFlamme
For Maine Game Warden and Landowner Relations Corporal Rick LaFlamme, supporting Maine's landowners is a privilege. In this Season 6 finale, Rick describes Maine's unique Landowner Relations Program, educating the public on how to be good land users, working with landowners to preserve outdoor recreation opportunities, picking up millions of pounds of litter, and why he's passionate about this work.
July 12, 2021
Episode 4: Hello from a Fish Hatchery
Katie chats with Fish Culturist Ashley O'Neal. Ashley describes her daily routine raising trout and splake at the MDIFW Governor Hill Fish Hatchery. Ashley explains why she finds the hands-on hatcheries work to be rewarding, despite originally pursuing a career in wildlife.
July 6, 2021
Episode 3: Experiencing Maine with MOSES Supervisor Angie Vo
Katie chats with MOSES (MDIFW's licensing system) Supervisor Angie Vo about how her office job connects her to Maine's outdoors.
June 28, 2021
Episode 2: From the Midwest to Maine with Deer Biologist Nathan Bieber
Katie checks in via Zoom with MDIFW Deer Biologist Nathan Bieber. Nathan describes growing up and working in the Midwest, his move to Maine, the final steps of the state’s deer collaring study, and why he loves his job.
June 21, 2021
Episode 1: Fly Fishing with Fisheries Biologist Jake Scoville
Katie meets up with avid angler and fisheries biologist Jake Scoville to try out fly fishing and chat about his experiences in the field. Jake is based in the Grand Lake Region in downeast Maine.
SEASON FIVE: MAINE'S MOOSE
February 22, 2021
Episode 4: Finale
Do turkeys spread ticks? Why don't we put tick collars on moose? In this final episode of season 5, Katie reviews the adaptive management study, next steps, and FAQs with MDIFW Moose Biologist Lee Kantar. In the coming months, Lee will present his proposal to the Department's advisory council. Christl Theriault, MDIFW's legislative liaison, explains this process.
February 15, 2021
Episode 3: Winter tick
The proliferation of winter tick due to climate change is impacting the health and reproduction of the moose population. In this episode, MDIFW Moose Biologist Lee Kantar reviews all things winter tick including how they differ from other ticks you may be familiar with and how they impact moose. Lee also introduces the Adaptative Management Study, an ongoing study to determine if lowering the moose population density can lessen the impacts of winter tick.
February 8, 2021
Episode 2: Learning about the herd
With 10 million acres of moose habitat in Maine, MDIFW Moose Biologist Lee Kantar has found helicopters to be essential to monitoring the state's moose population. Lee explains the three different studies from the air: the aerial survey to count moose, another aerial survey to determine the distribution of bulls, cows, and calves, and a third study where GPS collars are placed on cows and calves to track them.
February 1, 2021
Episode 1: Moose through the years
Moose are as synonymous with Maine as lighthouses and lobsters. Moose can be found grazing in swamp lands, browsing on saplings sprouting in recent clear cuts, swimming in lakes, and seeking the cool shelter of our state’s enchanting forests. In this episode, Katie chats with MDIFW Wildlife Division Director Nate Webb and Moose Biologist Lee Kantar to learn a little about the history of moose in Maine.
SEASON FOUR: TAKE AIM
When it comes to enjoying the Maine outdoors, like anything, everyone learns differently and has a different "why." Some learn from their parents at a young age, others find a mentor as an adult, and others seek online videos to begin a passion like no other. Katie meets with Department staff and Mainers of different backgrounds to discover their stories.
October 19, 2020
Episode 8: Story of a mentor
Director of University of Maine 4-H Camp + Learning Centers, Registered Maine Guide, and hunting mentor Ron Fournier talks about sharing his passion for hunting with all ages.
October 12, 2020
Episode 7: Guided to success
Judy, an entomologist, studies insects that impact wild blueberries for the University of Maine in Orono. Despite doing field work for her job, she never considered herself an “outdoorsy” person. After joining several sessions of the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, she became interested in hunting.
October 5, 2020
Episode 6: The art of hunting
After participating in the Department's Mentored Hunt for new adult hunters, Niko put to work all the skills he learned from his mentor, wildlife biologist Kendall Marden, and harvested a 10-point buck. Niko compares hunting to an art form, every hunter has their own methods, style, and motivations.
September 28, 2020
Episode 5: Fisheries bio on the go
Katie speaks with MDIFW Fisheries Planner and Research Coordinator Matt Lubejko. Matt's fisheries career has brought him around the world, from Europe, China, and the west coast to finally settling in Maine. Thanks to a passionate mentor and YouTube videos, Matt has begun his next greatest adventure: learning to deer hunt.
September 21, 2020
Episode 4: A game keeper's wild life
Emilie, a game keeper at the Maine Wildlife Park, was introduced to hunting as an adult while working for a hunting outfitter out west. After a chance encounter with a family of black bears, a conversation with a biologist, and finding a community of supportive hunters, she tried hunting for the first time—and loved it!
September 14, 2020
Episode 3: Dan Rice, future Maine Guide
Katie chats with Dan Rice, a lifelong outdoor enthusiast. Dan is a bass fishing fanatic and dedicated hunter who enjoys sharing outdoor experiences with friends and family. He aspires to take his hobby and make it a career by becoming a Registered Maine Guide.
September 7, 2020
Episode 2: Judy, MDIFW Commissioner
Katie meets with MDIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso. Judy, a former vegetarian, discusses how climate change and conservation motivated her to try hunting. She harvested her first wild turkey with fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike acting as a mentor. If you’ve been following along, you heard from Liz in our very first podcast episode.
August 31, 2020
Episode 1: Courtney's surprising hobby
Katie meets with the Department’s media and graphics supervisor Courtney Moulton. Courtney shares memories that inspired her love for Maine and the outdoors, including one special day when she was only ten years old. For Courtney, time spent outside with friends and family means everything.
SEASON THREE: FISH + GAME CHANGERS ON TAP
The Department has numerous partners across the state who work to conserve Maine’s natural resources. In Fish + Game Changers On Tap Katie meets with partners who help keep the Sebago Lake Watershed pristine and explores the unexpected benefits of the protected watershed, from clean drinking water to recreation opportunities and even craft breweries.
July 20, 2020
Episode 8: Maine's landscape, Maine's foundation
Katie meets with Foundation Brewing Quality Control Director Christie Mahaffey. She talks about how beer is the foundation of civilization and how Portland's breweries are invested in their communities. Christie comments that not only is Maine's landscape unique but how people use it is one of a kind.
July 13, 2020
Episode 7: New England's first brewery
Katie visits Geary Brewing Co, New England's first craft brewery in the post prohibition era, and talks with owner, Robin Lapoint, about sustainability and community.
July 6, 2020
Episode 6: Adventures of a wildlife biologist
Before heading back to Portland for another brew tour, Katie talks about bears, piping plovers, and rescuing a turtle with the Sebago Lake Region wildlife biologist Scott Lindsay. More people live in Scott's region than anywhere else in Maine, leading to some challenges when it comes to endangered species and resolving human-wildlife conflicts.
June 29, 2020
Episode 5: The comeback of Sebago's salmon
Katie learns why Sebago Lake is the perfect habitat for landlocked salmon from fisheries resource supervisor Jim Pellerin. Jim highlights the unique work he and fisheries resource technicians do in the Sebago Lake region, from fitting fish with radio tags to helping tourists plan their fishing trips.
June 22, 2020
Episode 4: Watershed fed
Katie talks with Dan Vitalis, host of the culinary adventure series WildFed, about hunting, fishing, and foraging in the Sebago Lake Watershed. Dan, formerly a vegan, started hunting and fishing to become closer to his food source. Dan sources most of the food he eats from the watershed and that means he’s invested in keeping those resources and traditions thriving.
June 15, 2020
Episode 3: A walk in the watershed
Katie takes a walk with Loon Echo Land Trust Executive Director Matt Markot. They chat about how the 7,000 acres of protected land not only helps Sebago Lake’s water quality but provides residents and visitors alike with recreation opportunities and supports the local economy.
June 8, 2020
Episode 2: A brewmaster's secret ingredient
Katie chats with Allagash Brewing Company's brewmaster Jason Perkins to learn how good quality water impacts their final product.
June 1, 2020
Episode 1: Ripple effect
Katie meets with water resources specialist Laurel Jackson to learn about the Sebago Lake Watershed, the public drinking water supply for 200,000 people in the Greater Portland area. The lake is one of only a handful of water bodies in the country where a filtration system is not required due to the excellent water quality. Katie and Laurel chat about why this is possible and how the watershed helps keep our Maine traditions and communities thriving… did she just say craft breweries?
Mini Series: Running with the K9s
In this mini season Katie chats with K9 Corporal Lucas Bellanceau, Landowner Relations Corporal Dave Chabot, and Warden Kris MacCabe to learn the challenges and rewards of being members of the K9 team, how they train, and their most memorable times with their four-legged partners.
May 4, 2020
Episode 3: K9s, the ultimate coworkers
Katie explores the special bond between the K9s and their handlers and what it is like going to work with your best friend every day. Wardens Lucas, Dave, and Kris also chat about why they are passionate about the work they do.
April 27, 2020
Episode 2: Training with the K9s
Katie rushes to keep up with Landowner Relations Corporal Dave Chabot and K9 Ruby on a practice track through the woods. After, the wardens chat about evidence detection and how items containing human scent and gunpowder residue can help solve fish and game cases.
April 20, 2020
Episode 1: Most memorable tracks
The Maine Warden Service is mandated to assist with search and rescue. To help with this, the Maine Warden Service has nine K9s trained to track down missing people. In this episode, wardens Lucas, Dave, and Kris recount their most memorable tracks.
Season One: In the Field
March 16, 2020
Episode 7: Visiting a bear den
Katie follows black bear and Canada lynx biologist Jennifer Vashon deep into the woods to visit a bear den. Bear den visits are conducted late winter to monitor the health of female bears and their young cubs. In a follow-up interview, Katie and Jen chat about the den visit, how to avoid human-bear conflicts, and why Jen loves her job.
March 9, 2020
Episode 6: When your office is the wild outdoors
Katie visits with wildlife biologist Sarah Spencer, whose work focuses on managing habitats for the benefit of wildlife. We talk about Sarah’s unique off-the-grid upbringing, how she charted a career in conservation, and the wild, beautiful, and ever-changing places her work brings her every day.
March 2, 2020
Episode 5: Moose to mayflies
Katie hangs out with wildlife biologist Sarah Boyden while she collects biological samples from deer carcasses. Sarah shares highlights from the diverse projects she’s worked on and talks about how growing up on a dairy farm gave her the foundational skills to become a successful biologist.
February 24, 2020
Episode 4: When research findings surprise
Katie catches up with Danielle D’Auria, a wildlife biologist for the bird group whose focus is on secretive marsh birds like the blue heron. We discuss what exactly a "secretive marsh bird" is, Danielle’s passion for the work, and how some research findings still surprise this experienced biologist.
February 17, 2020
Episode 3: Stopping poachers and spreading positivity
Katie joins game warden Sarah Miller as she scouts for spots to catch night hunters in the act. She talks about her path to becoming a game warden, how she taught herself to hunt, and what she loves most about her work, including her interactions with people in her community and her role as a mentor to other women and young people.
February 10, 2020
Episode 2: Mapping out a dream job
Katie sits down with Beginning with Habitat cartographer and fellow upstate New York native Michele Watkins, who shares her journey from her family’s 300-acre farm to her dream job at MDIFW, including the incredible influence her father had on her life, from her love of hunting to her choice of career.
February 3, 2020
Episode 1: Netting fish and getting the family outside
Katie joins fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike for a trap netting session and a conversation about Liz’s important work as a fisheries biologist as well as a broader conversation about spending time outdoors as a family—what it meant to her growing up, and how she’s keeping the tradition alive with her own kids.