Wild Jobs: Ombudsman Tim Smith

By | October 2, 2014
From Xplor: August/September 2014

If you have questions about conservation, ombudsman Tim Smith will get you answers.

Q: What’s an ombudsman?

A: An ombudsman is a person who makes sure peoples’ questions get answered quickly, accurately, and courteously.

Q: How many questions do you get?

A: I’ve responded to more than 36,000 questions since I became ombudsman, which averages to be about 400 to 600 questions a month.

Q: What kinds of questions do people ask?

A: I get lots of “what is this?” questions. People send me photos of something — a snake, an insect, an animal track — and ask me what it is. I also get lots of questions about hunting and fishing rules.

Q: What’s the strangest question you’ve received?

A: I once got a photo that was taken from an airplane. It looked like aliens had cut snowflake patterns into a forest. I found out — after lots of detective work — that it was a biology experiment. Scientists were trying to learn which shape was best for cutting down trees in an overgrown glade so that wildflowers would grow back.

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: I get to learn new things about nature every day. Some things that most people see only once in their lives — like albino deer or rare birds — I get to see photos of on a regular basis. I also get to work with lots of smart, helpful conservation department employees. And, I get to make folks happy by answering their questions.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White