Shawn Opitz joined WEST in 2014 as a data entry and field technician in the Cheyenne office and was hired as a biologist and field coordinator in 2019. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Wyoming (UW) in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Management with a focus in Terrestrial Biology in 2013. Shawn started WEST in the data entry department performing QA/QC, creating tables and figures, and keeping track of fatality databases. His time outside of the office was spent conducting aerial and ground raptor nest surveys, avian point count surveys, small mammal occupancy, and post-construction monitoring and curtailment throughout Wyoming and Montana. As a biologist and field coordinator, he will continue to work on pre- and post-construction surveys in both a field and office setting.
Prior to joining WEST, Shawn took an interest in small mammals during his undergraduate career and worked in Alaska as a field technician studying predator/prey relations between marten, ermine, and mice in response to forestry management strategies. After graduating, he worked closely with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at UW as a field technician studying songbird nesting success in response to greater sage-grouse habitat management strategies and studying mule deer disturbance and fawn recruitment in western Wyoming. Shawn’s primary interests are studying the impacts of human development and disturbance to wildlife behavior and working with clients to mitigate those risks.