Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch

Staff

Lloyd LaCoste – Ranch Manager– My name is Lloyd LaCoste, and I am from San Antonio Texas. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Rangeland Ecology and Management from Texas A&M University. After graduation I worked for and managed corporate hunting camps on the Encino Division of King Ranch, and The Hollywood Camp in Falfurrias, Texas. I have also been employed by Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union, San Antonio Water System, Avis Rent-a-Car and, Southwest Airlines. I currently serve as the Ranch Manager for the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch where I have been employed since 2008. In my capacity as Ranch Manager I am responsible for all daily operations at RPQRR. Some of my tasks include planning and supervising the daily activities of volunteers and interns to insure they accomplish all wildlife management and data collection tasks assigned to them as well as conducting various research projects occurring on the ranch. Facilitating any offsite research projects to assure they run as smoothly as possible. Coordinating with graduate students and their professors to insure that they have the equipment and staff that they need to accomplish the variety of ongoing research occurring on the ranch. Maintaining all facilities, infrastructure, and ranch equipment. Planning and organizing outreach efforts of the ranch to include tours, field days, plant appreciation days, and speaking events at offsite locations with the goal of improving land stewardship skills as well as educating and giving updates of the research occurring on the ranch. Performing a variety of surveys for wildlife to include call counts, roadside counts, scent stations, pitfall traps, sweep netting, trapping and banding quail, radio telemetry, spotlight surveys, and low level aerial helicopter surveys. Planning and supervising the implementation of all wildlife and habitat management techniques to include supplemental feeding and providing water, food plots, disking to produce forbs, aeration, brush management, and prescribed burns. I am also responsible for quality control of all data collected and the technology used on the ranch.

email: lmlacoste@quailresearch.org


Bradley Kubečka, M.S. Graduate Research Assistant – I am a M.S. candidate at Texas A&M University- Kingsville under the tutelage of Drs. Dale Rollins and Fidel Hernández. I have my B.S. from Tarleton State University in Wildlife, Sustainability, and Ecosystem Sciences (Wildlife Emphasis) with a minor in biology. My thesis project is an evaluation of population indices and density estimators of northern bobwhite and scaled quail at RPQRR. I hope to determine which estimators and indices are not only reliable for research measures, but also practical for landowners to accurately gauge their fall hunting populations. Additionally, I am working with satellite imagery to elucidate any relationships between vegetation associations and quail densities over time. I was hired at RPQRR in May 2013 and have grown deeply attached to all things quail, plants, and habitat relationships. Beyond my thirst for knowledge in wildlife, my hobbies including making noise on my acoustic guitar and quail hunting with my two English Setters, Lil and Sue.

Becky Ruzicka, Research Associate and Doctoral Candidate – I first started with RPQRR in 2011 newly graduated with my M.S. in wildlife biology from Utah State University. I came out to the ranch from Dallas to volunteer that February and by April Dr. Rollins offered me a research assistant position studying bobwhite recolonization on the wildfire areas across West Texas. Later that year I moved on to coordinating many aspects of our large-scale disease study, Operation Idiopathic Decline, and for the next three years I worked on both projects for RPQRR as well as other smaller endeavors such as collecting samples for the Bobwhite Genome Project. In 2014, I was hired by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to work alongside Dr. Rollins on the Extension aspects of the Reversing the Decline of Quail in Texas Initiative. Starting in 2016, I am back with RPQRR as a research associate and also pursuing my Ph.D. at Colorado State University (my undergraduate alma mater). My research is focused on improving our ability to successfully reestablish scaled (blue) quail using translocation techniques to areas of the Rolling Plains where they have become locally depopulated or extinct. I will also be analyzing some of RPQRR’s extensive dataset with particular regards to previous translocation efforts. I make my home in Ault, Colorado, but regularly travel to the Rolling Plains (it’s not that far, seriously). In my free time I can usually be found riding my horse, but also enjoy hunting, fishing, kayaking, gardening, photography, and just being outside whenever possible.

email: becky.ruzicka@quailresearch.org


Drew Ann White, Research Assistant – I consider myself a Wyoming native, though I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah at age 12. I attended Utah State University where I earned a B.S. in Conservation and Restoration Ecology in 2010. While earning my bachelor’s degree I worked numerous field seasons in sagebrush steppe communities studying pygmy rabbits and greater sage grouse. Following my undergraduate degree I worked at the Smithsonian Institute for Conservation Biology with clouded leopard captive breeding and with Wildlife Preservation Canada on their eastern loggerhead shrike reintroduction program. I completed my master’s at Tarleton State University in August of 2015 after defending my thesis on nutrition and biomass production at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. I feel scientifically and ethically motivated to contribute to species translocation and reintroduction research and have been honored with amazing opportunities including the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. I have been following the work at the ranch for several years now, and I am proud to be a member of this team! I am looking forward to putting my years of telemetry experience with game birds to good use assisting with scaled quail translocation, as well as applying my analytical skill set to the many years of data collected at the ranch! Outside of work I enjoy road biking, cooking, homebrewing, hiking, camping, and fishing. I’m eager to improve my skills at photography and hope to contribute some great shots on our facebook page!

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