- Associated Press - Saturday, February 4, 2017

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) - After more than two years without anyone in the position, the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives in Spearfish has a new curator: April Gregory, former Booth Society executive director, started in her new role last month.

Gregory has had an association with D.C. Booth for over seven years, and the institutional knowledge she possess will allow her to benefit the station immediately,” Carlos Martinez, hatchery director, said. “Her business acumen while dealing with partners and the public is excellent. She enjoys working with people of all ages and backgrounds and does so in a professional and courteous manner.”

Martinez added that there were a large number of excellent applicants for the position and that Gregory has the wide range of skills that are necessary at the “out-of-the-ordinary and unique facility.”

“Her background and experience includes but is not limited to: collection management, accessions/cataloging, exhibit and interpretive design, preservation of historic structures, working with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO), grant writing, and volunteer management,” he said.

“I moved to Spearfish in 2009 specifically to intern in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) Archive at D.C. Booth,” Gregory said. “I never imagined I would wind up in the curator position, but when the position opened up, I applied, and things have come full circle. The archives are the only reason I moved here, and they are what have kept me here . My career goal has been to work for the FWS; I’m glad to now officially be a FWS employee with the added benefit of staying in Spearfish at a FWS facility I already know and love.”

Gregory graduated from the University of Montana-Missoula with degrees in photojournalism and art history. After working for a few newspapers, she started working part-time at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives in 2009 as a museum aide and archives and fisheries technician, while working other jobs simultaneously. In 2011, she was hired as the executive director of the Booth Society, the nonprofit friends group with the mission to promote, preserve, and enhance “the educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities at D.C. Booth . in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.” Gregory has been recognized as the 2013-14 National Association of Professional Women woman of the year for the field of conservation, as well as the 2016 Spearfish Young Professional Award for her advocacy work in the last years to keep the hatchery open.

Gregory’s resignation from the Booth Society executive director position was effective Jan. 7, and that position is currently advertised. Nancy Cole, the assistant and gift shop manager, is running things for the Booth Society in the interim.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted the curator job in December, and Gregory became an official federal employee Jan. 8, with her first day as curator.

Gregory has a deep passion for fisheries and has performed fisheries duties at state and federal hatcheries,” Martinez said. “This is important since the collection, museums, and station mission are fisheries-related.”

The Black Hills Pioneer (https://bit.ly/2jNUfnN) reports that the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives has endured closure threat, reduction of staff, and the possibility of its collection moving to the East Coast since 2012, due to federal budget constraints, and the curator position has been open since Randi Smith, who last served in the role, retired in March 2014. Her assistant, John Huffman, who served as archivist/historian, retired in October 2013.

The job description for the curator describes that the position: “Serves as Museum Curator and Chief of Collections Management for this Historic National Fish Hatchery, which includes approximately 15,000 artifacts and 160,000 pieces or archival material on site, and a National Register of Historic Places listed site, including several buildings and structures; Develops and implements the cultural resources management program; Serves as technical advisor to management on matters related to Service history, fisheries history and culture, and local area history and pre-history; Initiates and guides acquisition and deaccession of museum objects for sound growth of the collection at the Hatchery; Performs the full realm of museum curation work for the Hatchery including collection maintenance and conservation, overseeing preservation and accurate interpretation of historic structures and site, planning and preparing exhibits, etc.” Starting salary is listed at the federal GS-11, Step 01 level of $59,246 annually.

“I’m most looking forward to learning more about the rich and diverse history of America’s FWS fisheries work and sharing more of that history with the public,” Gregory said. “I’ve always admired and respected the work of the FWS and look forward to being directly involved with their mission.”

Her hope going forward is that the facility “remains a viable, loved, and utilized part of the Northern Hills community for many generations to come.”

“I also hope that the archives continue to grow and be used by researchers from around the country and world to aid them in their important fisheries and aquatic work,” Gregory said. “I hope that when people visit the hatchery, they leave with a better understanding of why healthy waterways and fisheries work are so important for our environment and our own well-being, and I hope they leave the hatchery supporting the work and mission of the FWS.”


Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com

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