Renee Spenst

Name: Renee Spenst
Position/Occupation: Regional Biologist with Ducks Unlimited
December 2017

Renee has been working for DU as Regional Biologist since 2008, and previously as an adjunct professor for UC Davis and Folsom Lake College. She also worked for the US Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District.

When asked, Renee said that a typical day in her current role is spent figuring out how to help partners “put habitat on the ground” in San Francisco Bay and along the California Coast. Often this involves meeting around a table with partners and pushing literal (and figurative) mountains of paper, rather than actual field work.  She added, “any days requiring work outdoors are always welcomed.”

Her professional career began in Maryland, where she earned her bachelor’s degrees at Salisbury University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore after a stint in the Air Force learning Arabic. She attributes her interest in biology to having been raised by two “nerdy parents” who shared various forms of biology throughout her growing up years. This included everything from “catching and gutting one seriously tough old trout at age five, to a highly memorable 11-mile backpacking trip through Banff at age seven.”

What she most enjoys about her job is the opportunity to work with partners and the challenges inherent in making a measurable difference on the landscape. Renee has been involved in restoration projects at Cullinan Ranch, Sears Point, Skaggs Island, Bair Island, and the South Bay Salt Ponds. She considers the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture “to be a place where synergistic benefits can accrue by bringing people and ideas together.“

When not at work she and her husband Adam tag-team to do the bidding of their 4-year old son, Finley which means you may find her “crawling around on the floor, playing cars, jumping on a trampoline, making silly faces (ok, usually her idea), racing, gardening, and of course skiing come winter.” She also secretly hopes her nerdiness will rub off on Finley and has already had the pleasure of his saying, “Mommy, when I’m a grownup, I want to do just what you do”.