Living the Wild Dream


From Fisheries to Filmmaking — Employees in the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service share Life and Career Journeys

Five employees take a group photo in an office. They have fish on the walls behind them.
The five Pacific Region employees of the Living the Wild Dream project come together for a private screening of the film. From left to right, Judy Gordon, Dan Nehler, Nicole Hams, Rikeem Sholes, Typhanie Shepherd. USFWS Photo: Typhanie Shepherd.

The Living the Wild Dream project highlights five U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region employees who span from early career to near retirement — four of them in the Region’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation program and one who got her start as a fisheries intern and landed a permanent job in the Office of Communications.

In film and stories, you will learn about the unique life and career journeys of Judy Gordon, Dan Nehler, Nicole Hams, Rikeem Sholes, and Typhanie Shepherd. From Brooklyn, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; Puyallup, Wash.; New Orleans; and Lufkin, Texas — with backgrounds from fish biology to documentary filmmaking — they share common stories of being introduced to wildlife and conservation at an early age, both in real life and from nature shows on TV; finding key role models, mentors, and advocates along their educational and career paths; and following their passions to work in conservation.

In these stories, you not only will learn about the work they do to fulfill their passions toward conservation, fisheries, science, and outreach; but also what it was like at times to be the only person of color on a job, or the only woman in an office where she was not welcome; the experience of seeing another Black scientist as a role model or being that person for someone else; about the value of visibility and representation and the people who believed in them and encouraged them to follow their visions no matter what.

This project was created to further the visibility of people of color in the conservation field. Although this project centers around Black and African American employees who came through the Fish and Aquatic Conservation program in the region, the hope is that their stories elevate the visibility and representation for all people of color in conservation, science, and outreach now and for the next generation.

See more here: Welcome to Living the Wild Dream!

A view of a river from a high point, looking down at the river between hills and mountains with trees. The sky is blue with clouds and low, golden light.
Columbia River, Washington. USFWS Photo: Lena Chang.



USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest Region
USFWS Pacific NW Region

Conservation stories from one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions.