If you follow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Twitter, (@USFWSMtnPrairie) you probably think that photographer Tom Koerner has the best job in the world.
Koerner’s photographs of wildlife frequently populate the agency’s Mountain Prairie Region’s Twitter feed and flickr account. But Koerner isn’t a full-time photographer. He’s the manager of the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. With a staff of six, he also oversees the Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge as well as conservation property near Laramie and Walden, Colorado.
“I usually have a camera sitting on my lap,” Koerner said of his daily work routine. He also photographs on his own time, as witnessed by the dawn and dusk pictures that stand out among his images.
Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge was created to offset habitat loss from the construction of the Fontenelle Reservoir, just upstream of the 27,230-acre reserve. It straddles the Green River and is home to dozens of species, especially waterfowl and other riparian-dependent wildlife. The name is derived from the Native American words for sage grouse river.
Driving by, the landscape surrounding the refuge looks barren, but that’s not representative of the rich river-bottom habitat. “It’s the interstate of wildlife in southwest Wyoming,” Koerner said of the Green River. “This is where they move through.”