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Dr. Ortega Dr. Ortega

Forest Service Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station

I grew up in southern California in a big city. My first biology job took me all the way to the wilds of Alaska. That convinced me that I was on the right career path. On the first day of work, our boat was approaching a rugged shore in Princess Bay where we were to set up our bird banding station. We noticed a figure on the beach. As we got closer, we realized that it was a brown bear, standing on its back legs! It did not seem afraid of us or our boat and, in fact, was letting us know whose beach it was! We got the picture and turned around. But we returned to that beach in Princess Bay all summer long to band birds, never again seeing the bear, but always paying our respects to her by calling out, 'Hey Princess!'