Brad Nissen

Brad exploring the Grand Canyon.

Brad exploring the Grand Canyon.

My job: Salamander Sidekick

 Real title: Amphibian Research and Husbandry Intern

Education: B.S., Environmental Science, University of Mary Washington,  2011

How I help save sallies: I lend a hand at the Salamander Lab wherever possible; keeping our resident hellbenders well-fed and their water clean. I also help save salamanders by taking public transportation whenever possible (including from Fredericksburg, VA all the way to the National Zoo in DC). This helps reduce my carbon foot print, which is important since climate change is the #1 threat for Appalachian salamanders.

Best salamander story:  The first time I went with Kim on a trip to survey for hellbenders, I had a blast. The first salamander we caught was pretty big, and the second one was even bigger! I’d never encountered any amphibians that large in the wild before, and I think it’s pretty cool that they call our ‘neck of the woods’ home. After encountering full-sized adults in their natural habitat, I have a renewed appreciation for the juvenile hellbenders in the Appalachian Salamander Lab. I hope they can help us answer questions about the rest of their amphibian kin and raise awareness about how these animals need our help to survive!

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