About Me
About Me, Nanette Mickle
My name is Nanette Mickle and I am a wife and the mother of three wonderful children, three mostly wonderful cats, and a well-loved loyal Australian Shepherd.  I am an avid gardener, long-time Purple Martin landlord, and a Purple Martin scientific researcher.  In my backyard, I have a 78 cavity colony of Purple Martins.

I have always had a passion for birds and nature in general.   When surrounded by nature, I feel a soul reaching connection which makes my day's worries and strife lessen their grip.

I will give away my age by admitting that Marlin Perkins (the man back then who does what Jack Hanna does now) was my childhood hero.  In college, initially, my major was Biology and Environmental Studies but upon the advice of someone I highly respected, I switched it to the much more ‘practical' major of Business Administration, a decision I was later to regret.

Many years later, after my children were (almost) raised, I threw caution to the wind and began to listen to my “inner biologist.”  I completed  beginning and advanced bird banding training and have been banding for the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) (www.birdpop.org) program at  Environmental Studies on the Piedmont (www.envstudies.org) since 2007.  I am a member of and mentor for the Purple Martin Conservation Association (www.purplemartin.org) and have participated in their Project MartinWatch and Scout-arrival Study since 2003.
In 2009, I began volunteering as a researcher for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute under Dr. M. Victoria McDonald where I work with and band their 100+ cavity PUMA (PUrple MArtin) colony. I also initiated my own geolocator study. In 2011, I began collaboration on tracking Purple Martin migration using geolocators with Dr. Bridget Stutchbury (http://www.yorku.ca/bstutch/index.htm) of York University in Canada.

In addition to my research, I am routinely engaged by schools and organizations to educate the public about the value of bird banding for bird conservation, about Purple Martins and research using geolocators.  I give presentations at schools, give talks to conservation groups, and create and man educational displays at functions including the Smithsonian's Autumn Conservation Festival and the Gone to the Birds Festival in Richmond VA. These educational opportunities come with their own expenses, which are not covered by grants, and I do not charge schools or sponsers for these events.

Although I have received support in the form of grants from several organizations such as the North American Bluebird Association, Wilson Society, Eastern Bird Banding Association, Purple Martin Conservation Association, and generous Purple Martin ‘landlords’, this funding does not entirely cover my research and education program costs.   Hence, in 2012, I decided to start selling the jewelry I design and hand craft through a formal business and earmark all the profits to support my research and public education expenses.  I reasoned people could receive a beautiful piece of nature inspired jewelry and donate money to a good cause at the same time!

The joy of transforming a bit of raw silver into a piece of artwork is as soul satisfying as handling a wild bird, especially knowing that what I am doing may help to ensure its future.
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