Andy Meier started his current position as lead natural resource specialist in the La Crescent, Minnesota field office as part of the recreation and natural resources environmental section inFebruary 2020.The environmental section office has management responsibility for environmental stewardship on the approximately 24,000 acres of Corps-owned land in the St. Paul District. The two primary management responsibilities on the Corps-owned land are sustainable forest management and restoration and shoreline management. They also collaborate extensively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state departments of natural resources because much of the land is co-managed with those agencies.Meier grew up in the southeast corner of Price County in Wisconsin. His undergraduate degree is in forest science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his master’s degree is in forest biology from Purdue University. After college, Meier worked as a forestry specialist for three years at Purdue University. Following graduate school, Meier stayed at Purdue where he was the project coordinator for the hardwood ecosystem experiment.Hoping to move closer to home, Meier accepted a forester/forest ecologist position with Audubon Minnesota in 2015 and worked for six months as a forester on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildfire Refuge based in Onalaska, Wisconsin. In July 2015, Meier started at the Corps as a forester in the La Crescent, Minnesota field office.In his current position as lead natural resource specialist, he continues to focus on the forest restoration work, but with a greater responsibility of planning and team oversight. “Though technical skills are important for my job, being able to interact with a lot of different people is what really makes me effective in my job. I think I get along well with most people and I try to incorporate feedback into decision-making,” said Meier.Meier is passionate about plants, which he said comes out in his work. “I really like plants and really love seeing plants grow and understanding how and why they grow. I’m constantly interested in figuring out how floodplain forests on the river developed in the past and how we can utilize that knowledge to better implement management and restoration,” said Meier. This passion also comes out in his life outside of his work. “I can't help myself from collecting seeds and every year I'll start 10 or 15 trees growing in pots in my backyard that I started from seed. I'm just fascinated with how plants grow,” he added.In addition to spending time in the garden, Meier said he also enjoys outdoor recreation like hiking, kayaking and biking in the summer and cross-country skiing and winter camping in the winter.“My advice for people pursuing their dreams is to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way. Many people have an idea of what the perfect job is and aren’t willing to settle for anything less, but I think that mentality can really limit a person’s potential to find what they really want to do,” said Meier.