Martyn Drabik-Hamshare

Joined: Apr 29, 2020 Last Active: Oct 27, 2020

I am the Manager of the Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center (South Bass Island) and a Substitute Teacher for various districts in and around Sandusky.

I was born and raised in the UK (near Southampton, Hampshire), where I developed my love for nature, particularly herpetology - reptiles and amphibians. I have great memories of finding slow-worms (legless lizards) and frogs in my back garden. My love of reptiles was also helped by my family's love of tortoises. We had them as pets, and loved seeing various species of turtle on our travels abroad to Spain and Florida.

Following my studies to become a Zoologist at the University of Southampton, I completed an internetship with a local wildlife trust on Grass Snakes (Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust) and spent a few years working for a Hampshire-based ecological consultancy (Hampshire Ecological Services Ltd), where I learned more about the local fauna and flora (mostly fauna), particularly snakes, lizards, newts, bats, dormice, and badgers.

I then travelled to South Africa to study for my Masters degree in Ecology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, based in Pietermaritzburg. It was a research-focussed Masters degree on Leopard Tortoises in the Karoo; a large tortoise species that inhabits a wide variety of areas. My studies investigated home range, movement and land use patterns on commercial farms in the semi-arid lands near Beaufort West, Western Cape. Two research papers were published from these studies.

It was in South Africa where I met my wife, Morgan, who was studying under the same professor, but researching Cape Vultures in the Eastern Cape. Morgan passed on her love for birds. During our time in South Africa, we explored many places and loved to photograph and document all kinds of species, contributing the local Citizen Science programs (Virtual Museum & SABAP2), while primarily using eBird for our bird sightings.

Following completion of our respective postgraduate degrees, Morgan returned to the States and got a job in Sandusky, OH, and I returned to the UK. Following a long and complicated visa process, I finally moved to the US in late 2018. We have both been enjoying the wonderful wildlife areas of northern Ohio!

I joined the Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center in the late summer of 2019, became their Road Scholar director in October of the same year, and Manager of the center in April of 2020. Our Road Scholar programs take place in the Spring and Fall of each year, educating people on the natural history, history, and culture of the Lake Erie Islands. Our birdwatching trips in the Spring are particularly popular, owing the spring migration and the wonderful experts we partner with.

Come visit the Nature Center on South Bass Island.

Website: https://lakeerieislandswildlife.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LEINWC/

My contact address: m.drabik.hamshare@gmail.com

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