Botanist, Natural Heritage New Mexico, UNM Biology Department
Bandelier National Forest
One might expect that an animal lover like Yvonne Chauvin would think to pursue veterinary medicine, zoology, or wildlife biology long before considering a career in botany. After all, she and her husband currently own three dogs, four cats, a couple of horses which she refers to as some of her “good friends,” and a mule she sees as her “baby.” In fact, early in her career, Yvonne tried her hand at working for a veterinarian, but quickly discovered that she “just liked being outside too much” for that line of work. So, she reconsidered the direction her professional life was headed, deciding that botany was better suited to the lifestyle she desired than veterinary medicine.
Her current job as botanist for the Natural Heritage New Mexico (NHNM) project out of the University of New Mexico’s Biology Department allows her to romp around the mountains and canyons of Northern New Mexico doing field work for about six months out of the year. She has held her position at NHNM for almost twenty years, and these days, she can identify almost any plant in the region you could point a walking stick at. The Westies greatly appreciated the opportunity to hike with Yvonne and soak in her vast knowledge of the region’s flora.
By: Libby Fones