Peyton Niebanck graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife sciences through the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. “Since I was 4 years old, I have had a fascination with reptiles,” she says. “It wasn’t until I got to college that I really wanted to explore more natural resources and wildlife fields.” Niebanck worked to gain a better understanding of the interconnectedness of plants, wildlife, and people. “I took many classes and field courses that, I felt, matched with my passions and interests.” She also double-minored in ecology and Chinese language and literature.
Since graduating, she has worked with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division on two projects: conducting gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) surveys and helping with the protection of the federally endangered, non-venomous eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). She was also involved in invasive reptile management, such as trapping the black and white Argentine tegus (Salvator merianae) in and around Everglades National Park with the National Park Service and the University of Florida.
At SCCF, Niebanck is assisting with departmental wildlife monitoring projects including the Florida box turtle (Terrapene bauri) and freshwater turtle research, as well as ongoing conservation efforts. “I am very excited to be a part of SCCF and see what this new adventure in the Sanibel-Captiva community has to offer,” she says. “I can’t wait to share my knowledge and support the unique wildlife here on the island.”