Members in Action: Jessica Miller
Friday, November 1, 2019
Posted by: Alexis Gibson
Jessica Miller is the Senior Manager of the Midwest Region for the Natural Resources Services Line of Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc (ECT). Jessica has been in the environmental consulting business for 20 years. In her current role, she manages 18 people in multiple offices across the Midwest.
The Natural Resources team is responsible for a wide-range of services, including Threatened and Endangered Species surveys; assessment of wetlands and streams; restoration and mitigation design and implementation; and project planning and permitting. They work for clients in all market sectors from renewable energy to oil and gas, residential and commercial development to government, non-profits, and parks.
Jessica is also a federally permitted bat biologist, and one focus of her job is comprehensive bat surveys. These surveys are critical for understanding if there will be regional changes in bat populations from development like wind farms, as well as in identifying the presence of endangered bat species.
“White nose syndrome is devastating US bat populations. Many people don’t realize that bats are not only pollinators but also help farmers by naturally controlling pests that inflict crop damage. Farmers have to use more pesticides to make up for the reduced bat populations. Natural control of pests is important at the billions of dollars scale for agricultural industry. Helping bats and making sure their habitat is protected is important on an economic and social scale, they can, in many instances, be keystone species,” said Jessica.
Jessica grew up in Florida near the Everglades. Growing up climbing in mangrove forests inspired her passion for restoration and the environment. She first became interested in bats when a supervisor suggested that she try bat surveys since she liked to stay up late at night. Once she knew she wanted to become a federally permitted bat biologist, Jessica started working as a volunteer doing bat surveys in addition to her full-time job. Her suggestion to new restoration practitioners is to make the effort to getting experience in the field, even if you have to take unpaid internships or volunteer.
In addition to her work at ECT, Jessica serves as the Secretary of the SER Midwest Great Lakes Chapter, participates in several working committees, and is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP). She says that she’s a member of SER because the organization brings together businesses, practitioners, and academics without prioritizing any one group over the other, and that everyone comes together for the same goal. Additionally, SER provides everyone with cutting edge information on restoration and new initiatives in the field.