February 1, 2024

Meet the Staff: Jacob Lux, District Wildlife Biologist

A man wearing brown waders drives a boat while standing up. In the background is a bright blue sky.

Photos courtesy of Jacob Lux.

For District Wildlife Biologist Jacob Lux, involvement in natural resource conservation started young, at just 4 years of age.

“I really started to learn about conservation when I started waterfowl hunting with my dad,” Lux explained.

From there, Lux, a Beardstown native, with the waterfowl-dense Illinois River flowing nearby, continued to find opportunities involving wildlife conservation.

“I really gained interest in having a career in this field while helping a family friend band wood ducks in the late summer, early fall one year,” said Lux. “I also had the opportunity to attend multiple Canada goose roundups as well, when I was younger.”

Lux went on to pursue a career in natural resource conservation. After attending Lincoln Land Community College for his associate degree in applied science, Lux attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to complete his bachelor’s in Zoology with a focus in Wildlife Biology.

During his time as an undergrad, Lux spent many summers and internships working on wildlife conservation projects, especially in coordination with his lifelong involvement with waterfowl.

“While attending Southern Illinois University, I worked on the Wing Bee,” he said.

The Wing Bee, officially known as the Migratory Bird Parts Collection Survey, is a specimen collection project in which hunters mail in the wings of ducks and the tail feathers and wing tips of geese they harvest.

Lux continued, noting that “At the Wing Bee I got to sort, by species, wings hunters had sent in from all over the Mississippi Flyway.”

The data collected help to determine biological metrics for birds harvested in the Mississippi Flyway, such as age and sex ratios. This information, in turn, is used to estimate harvest and inform future management of waterfowl populations.

Lux also pursued summer internship opportunities with the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), continuing his work with waterfowl and other bird conservation efforts.

“For two summers I worked as a technician at Forbes Biological Station where I got to work on projects looking at overwater nesting, bird habitat uses, and nest success, while looking at the habitat use of wood ducks post breeding season,” he said.

A man wearing fire retardant equipment stands in front of an all terrain vehicle with a water tank in the back. In the background are tall grasses and tall trees against a blue sky.

Now, joining the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in the early fall of 2023 as District Wildlife Biologist, Lux serves Adams, Fulton, Hancock, McDonough and Schuyler counties in west central Illinois. With IDNR-owned and -maintained properties, such as Siloam Springs State Park, Weinberg-King State Park and Argyle State Park, also under Lux’s purview for natural resource conservation, many plans for improvement are under way.

“My upcoming plans for public lands include getting controlled burning implemented,” said Lux. “This will improve wildlife habitat by reducing the woody vegetation and in turn improve the growth of native forbs and grasses. Over the next couple of years, I hope to improve the wildlife habitat on many of the sites in my district, as well as improve access to outdoor recreation.”

With the prime months for controlled burning upon us, Lux will have his work cut out for him. But with his extensive background in natural resource conservation, it is to be sure that he is up to the task!

Kaleigh Gabriel is a Wildlife Outreach Specialist with Lewis and Clark Community College, working out of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources building to assist the Division of Wildlife Resources. Growing up just between Sangamon and Christian counties, she spent a lot of her time hunting and fishing in Illinois. She received her bachelor’s degree in writing/journalism from Manchester University, Indiana.

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