Liz Thorndike

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: Katie Yates Public Outreach Specialist, MDIFW

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.

Available wherever you listen to podcasts, or stream below.

We hope you catch up on season one and are ready for season two featuring members of the Maine Warden Service K9 Team in April.

Season One: In the Field

Jennifer Vashon

March 16, 2020

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.

Sarah Spencer

March 9, 2020

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.

Sarah Boyden

March 2, 2020

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.

Danielle D'Auria

February 24, 2020

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.  

Sarah Miller

February 17, 2020

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.

Michele Watkins

February 10, 2020

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.

Liz Thorndike

February 3, 2020

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.