2017 Highlights

(For an overview of my research interests, please click here. For my publications, click here.)

December 10th, 2017

Photography contest at Huntley Meadows Park today! You may remember this photo from back on April 7th of this year when my students and I visited the park, this is the final composite. The “muskrat” is actually a large painting that took artist/photographer Dilaun Terry over 40 hours to complete! Here are the artist’s own words, from her Facebook page:

In these crazy and stressful times, maybe it’s time to laugh, take a rest, appreciate, and re-orient ourselves. That was the intent of this image; submitted to the Friends of Huntley Meadows photo contest this year (through February 28 2018 – Norma Hoffman center, Huntley Meadows Park).

What would an animal see if they observed humans encountering wildlife?

This composite photo taken at Huntley Meadows was designed to make the viewer laugh and engage. It was submitted to The Friends of Huntley Meadows to offer something to help forward their mission for wildlife conservation and wetlands management. Although this image was not judged in the contest, hopefully it “delivered” for their 2017 photo contest exhibition and motivated people to join and support their terrific program.

For more information about the photography exhibit or to join us to help support the Friends of Huntley Meadows, please use this link: https://www.facebook.com/friendsofhuntleymeadowspark/.”

This picture won an award for being “One-of-a-Kind”! The exhibit will be open until February 24th 2018, here are some more of the photographs:

Top row: “Frog in Beak” by Art Cole, “The Catch” by Carol Jean Stalun, “Northern Cardinal” by Ron Clabbers and “Bluebird Fall Perch” by Art Cole. Middle row: “Hummingbird at the Trumpet Flower” by Carol Jean Stalun, “Beauty in the Gravel” by Lara Fabiano, “Hisssssssssssssssssssssssss” by Dorle Hellmuth and “Barn Swallow” by Tony Clements. Bottom row: “Autumn Landing” by Eva L. Lanyi, “Indigo Bunting” by Tony Clements, “Release Point” by Art Cole and “Prothonotary Warbler” by Tony Clements. All photos are (C) their respective photographers.

December 2nd, 2017

I started off the year with a trip to the U.S. Botanic Garden and I returned today with some students! This was our final field trip of 2017, but there will be lots more adventures coming up in the new year! Photos (C) Rachel Silarszka.

December 1st, 2017

More good news today…. the results of the 2017 Beacon Survey at George Mason University are in, and at least one student picked me as “person on campus who has helped them the most in their college success.”

These are anonymous, but THANK YOU so much to the person(s) who wrote down my name, your support means everything to me.

This is my fifth teaching-related award in 2017, but I can only take a little bit of the credit — I have been so lucky to get such great students every semester. The Class of 2021 is by far the most motivated cohort I’ve ever seen, I had several students asking about research and volunteering on their first day of class!

And of course, I couldn’t do this without the help of my committee, Professor Aguirre, Professor Largen, and the people who have helped me in the lab every week, including Monica, Felicia and Taryn.

If you want to learn more about my teaching methodology please visit www.EelTown.org/teaching

November 19th, 2017

Field trip to Rock Creek National Park! We started off at the nature center where we handled a turtle by the name of “Pokey”, then walked down to the creek to see the old millhouse. If you look closely you can see the fish ladder off to the side of the dam. Thank you to Rachel Silarszka for the pictures!

November 11th, 2017

Field trip to Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. Thank you to Professor BK (www.tnkloeden.com) for organizing this trip, Joe Coleman at the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy for giving us the tour and Rachel Silarszka for the photos!

November 6th, 2017

Water density experiments in the lab. The food coloring is used to differentiate water at varying temperatures and salinity. Thank you to Lydia for taking this photo!

October 30th, 2017

We had a great lab today and one of my students, Michael, caught this bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) in the Mason Pond. Thank you to Cindy for taking the picture — I added a 4X zoom to make it easier to see.

There are plenty of invertebrates in the pond too, like this little crayfish that we found in the mud. (Thank you Taryn BK for the photo).

We also identified trees around campus, including sugar maples, red maples, cherry trees, eastern red cedars, a blue spruce, tulip trees, white oaks, flowering dogwoods, crepe myrtles, a white pine, American holly trees, a southern magnolia and a couple of cottonwoods. We are fortunate to have a campus with such an array of biodiversity!

October 17th, 2017

Another presentation today! This one covers an overview of my research, some of the ways I’ve been using ArcGIS and the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last two years.

Walker, N.J. American eel conservation research overview and ArcGIS applications. George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. 10/17/2017. PDF

October 14th, 2017

Field trip to Huntley Meadows Park with students from Intro to Environmental Science. This was one of the best field trips we’ve ever done, these are optional for the students and 17 of them came out this time! Thank you to Moe for taking this picture.

More photos (C) Rachel Silarszka.

(See also a paper I wrote on Huntley Meadows back in 2003 here.)

October 10th, 2017

Two more teaching awards this month! THANK YOU to my students — you’re the greatest! One of my proudest accomplishments to have earned a perfect score on my teaching evaluations from every student last semester.

October 3rd, 2017

Thank you to Professor Tom Kwak and all of the members of the North Carolina State University Student Fisheries Society for having me as part of your seminar series! It was an honor to meet all of you and learn about your research.

Walker, N.J. Stock assessment, conservation strategies and cultural impacts of the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Meeting of the Student Fisheries Society at North Carolina State University. October 3rd 2017.

October 1st, 2017

Celebrating six years since the founding of my science writing and editing business, Journal Editors of America LLC. THANK YOU so much to everyone who has supported us all these years.

September 22nd, 2017

Presentation at the 2017 Innovations in Teaching & Learning Conference at George Mason University. Thank you so much to the Stearns Center for inviting me to this event!

My favorite workshop of the day was on how to incorporate improv into the classroom, I am definitely going to use that in the future (maybe to have people come up with ideas on responding to disasters, or playing the roles of different stakeholders or nation states on environmental issues).

My presentation was about teaching introductory environmental science, particularly for people who aren’t majoring in the subject. I admit I have an easy job though, thanks to having some of most enthusiastic students in the whole department. Click the image for a PDF of my poster.

Click to see the poster

Walker, N. An interdisciplinary approach to teaching environmental science to non-STEM majors. GMU Stearns Center’s Innovations in Teaching & Learning Conference.  September 22, 2017. PDF

September 16th, 2017

Field trip to Great Falls Park with the students from EVPP 110 (Intro to Environmental Science). A beautiful day for a walk! Thank you to everyone who came out and thank you to Rachel Silarszka for taking such great pictures!

September 3rd, 2017

Made it up to William Clayton’s eel farm today! This is the premier eel aquaculture facility on the east coast, with literally TONS of eels. Note the differences in head shape between some of the fish!

While I was there a couple of customers from Portugal came in to procure some eels for their Labor Day banquet, which gave me a chance to practice my Portuguese with them. (E também, feliz dia do biólogo para todos os meus amigos no brasil!)

Bill couldn’t have been nicer and I look forward to partnering with him in the near future. Can’t wait to come back!


August 28th, 2017

Recognition from the GMU Stearns Center’sThank-A-Teacher” program. Thank you so much to the student who submitted this!


August 18th, 2017

Article in FISH Magazine

Walker, N.J.; Lee, L.; Rootes-Murdy, K.; Dolloff, C.; Prasad, V.; De Mutsert, K.; Aguirre, A.A. Stock assessment, prioritization of habitat, conservation priorities, and cultural significance of the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. In: FISH Magazine, Institute of Fisheries Management. August 2017.


August 8th, 2017

The Sixth International Conference on Agro-Geoinformatics at George Mason University

6th International Conference on Agro-Geoinformatics

Presentation at the 2017 Agro-Geoinformatics Conference. Professor Turgay Altilar of Istanbul Technical University was so inspired he decided to include fish in his presentation too!

N.J. WALKER, K. DE MUTSERT, C.A. DOLLOFF, A.A. AGUIRRE. “Fish Passage and Conservation Prioritization for American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in Virginia and Maryland tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” In: The Sixth International Conference on Agro-Geoinformatics at Fairfax VA. August 7 2017.


August 7th, 2017

Meeting with the Sargasso Sea Commission (part of the IUCN). We are going to do great things together!

June 14th, 2017

International Eel Science Symposium (IESS)

Presentation at First International Eel Symposium at the Zoological Society of London. We won the award for “Most Optimism in an Oral Presentation” for telling everyone how we were going to make the American eel great again!

N.J. WALKER, K. DE MUTSERT, C.A. DOLLOFF, A.A. AGUIRRE. “Stock assessment and prioritization of habitat and passage of American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” In: 1st UK International Eel Science Symposium at the London Zoological Society, London, UK. June 14 2017.

May 10th, 2017

Field trip to Great Falls Park with students from EVPP 110 (Intro to Environmental Science). Lots of animals out today!

May 9th, 2017

At the Hudson River Foundation American Eel Workshop with Chris Bowser and Bob Sturgeon.

April 21st, 2017

Interview in the Brunswick Citizen (click for larger version)

April 13th, 2017

Thank you to my students!

April 7th, 2017

Field trip to Huntley Meadows Park with students from EVPP 110 (Intro to Environmental Science). We got some great pictures of a muskrat right here!

March 31st, 2017

2017 Meeting and Workshop of the Association of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Biologists

2017 Meeting and Workshop of the Association of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Biologists

2017 AMAAB Poster
Poster for the workshop (click the image for the full version.)

N.J. WALKER, P.M. GILLEVET, K. DE MUTSERT, C.A. DOLLOFF, A.A. AGUIRRE. “Fish Habitat Prioritization for American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in Virginia and Maryland tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” In: 2017 Association of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Biologists Workshop at Cacapon State Park Berkeley Springs, WV. March 31 2017.

February 22nd, 2017

AFS Southern Division

Presentation at the 2017 AFS Southern Division meeting in Lexington, VA.

N.J. WALKER, P.M. GILLEVET, K. DE MUTSERT, C.A. DOLLOFF, A.A. AGUIRRE. “Prioritizing Fish Habitat for American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” In: American Fisheries Society Southern Division 2017 Meeting of the Virginia and Virginia Tech Chapter at Lexington, VA. February 22 2017.

January 31st, 2017

A trip to the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C. with my favorite plant biologist, Professor João Meira-Neto! I learned so much from him in Brazil and it was great to finally have a chance to explore D.C. together.

January 23rd, 2017

Start of a new semester! Looking forward to another GREAT year at GMU.


There’s more! See my publications at www.eeltown.org/portfolio