By Jorie Favreau
Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Nate Favreau knows Paul Smith’s College. From 2005 – 2006, he worked in the forestry tool room on campus and at the sugar bush. Shortly after, he taught a lab section of FWS 101 – Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife. A few years later, he was a frequent guest speaker in Conservation Law Enforcement. And all along, he has visited campus because his wife, Jorie Favreau, is a professor of wildlife biology at Paul Smith’s. Currently, he is stationed in southern Franklin County as an Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) for NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). His patrol area (approximately 1000 square miles,) extends from north of Paul Smith’s College, to south of Tupper Lake.
Officer Favreau knew in college that he wanted to pursue a career as a conservation law enforcement officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife in 1996. Like many conservation officers, Officer Favreau gained life experience before attending the academy. He said, “I lived a life before my career, and it has defined who I am.” In his first job for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), he had radio tracked California condors in southern California. At the end of 1996, he trapped and radio tracked turkeys in Kansas on a project which sought to quantify turkey mortality. When that job concluded, he trapped short-tailed shrews in Maryland, and then headed to southern Indiana to mist net songbirds. Meanwhile, USFWS contacted and asked him to return to the condor project in California. During that time, he helped on a side project looking at lead poisoning of turkey vultures. From California he moved back to New York, where he worked at a deer check station for New York Department of Environmental Conservation on Long Island for the fall season, followed by a flight back to the west coast. This time he worked for the U.S. Forest Service in southeast Alaska, first as a wildlife technician monitoring flying squirrel populations and then as a fisheries technician. From Alaska, he returned to New York to work for the DEC as a wildlife technician in Delmar. His duties included rocket netting, banding waterfowl, and working on a trapping study. After two seasons, he moved to North Carolina to support his wife Jorie, while she pursued her graduate education (thanks honey!). Eventually, Nate and Jorie moved to Tupper Lake when Jorie was offered a position teaching at Paul Smith’s College. During their first years in the Adirondacks, Nate worked as a fisheries technician and a wildlife technician for New York DEC out of Ray Brook until 2008. While working as a wildlife technician on a marten project, Nate was accepted into the New York DEC Academy to become an environmental conservation officer.
After graduating from the New York DEC’s 18th Basic Academy in 2008 as an Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO), Officer Favreau was stationed in the Bronx. During his tenure in New York City, he focused on Environmental Quality (EQ). On any given day he might check dry cleaners, bulk petroleum storage, pet shops, or the Fulton Fish Market, which is one of the largest fish markets in the United States. Environmental crimes tend to be large scale in New York City. One case involved someone backing a trailer up to the Hudson River, where they dumped a load of tires. Wildlife cases are limited in New York City, but he still saw some variety. His cases ranged from releasing illegally held cardinals – to illegal sales of turtles in Chinatown.
During this time, Officer Favreau was selected to participate in an officer exchange, allowing him the opportunity to spend a week in a Canadian province working with conservation officers. Although he was interested in visiting Nunavut, it became apparent that the Northwest Territories were better prepared to host his visit. While there, he had opportunity to check trappers and polar bear hunters who were trapping wolverines.
Officer Favreau is a member of the North American Wildlife Officers Association (NAWEOA), attending their annual training conferences. (Photo: NAWEOA, with son.) Training ranges from learning about new equipment – to developing strategies to deal with certain situations, as well as traditional duties such as covering Hunting Related Shooting Incidents (HRSI) and investigating poaching. Over the years he has enjoyed the camaraderie with officers from across North America, trading stories with officers who have similar, yet sometimes very different jobs. Every year NAWEOA honors officers who have fallen in the line of duty, and the Favreau family participates in the 5K Torch Run to support the families of those officers.
The entire time Officer Favreau was stationed in the Bronx, he continued to live in Tupper Lake, always waiting for an opening to transfer home. In fall of 2013, he transferred to Jefferson County which enabled him to be much closer to Tupper Lake, and focus on traditional fisheries and wildlife law enforcement. (photos: deer and boat) He took that opportunity and saw major changes in his cases: fishermen on Lake Ontario, agriculture, and illegal burning. By the end of 2014, he had the chance to transfer to his home in Tupper Lake – in southern Franklin County.
“It was a long hard road, a lot of sacrifices”, said Officer Favreau acknowledging the years spent away from his family and home. Still, he says it was worth it all to have one of the world’s best jobs.
For more information about becoming an Environmental Conservation Officer or Game Warden, see your state agency, for example in NY and Vermont. or the U.S. Federal government. Professor Jorie Favreau (Freer 213C) is also available to answer questions about how to prepare to be competitive for this career.
Jorie Favreau is a Professor of Wildlife Biology in the Fisheries and Wildlife Science program at Paul Smith’s College, where she teaches courses such as Animal Behavior and Techniques in Wildlife Management. Animal behavior, particularly movements of mammals, is her passion. She has conducted research on snowshoe hares in the Adirondacks to answer theoretical questions about foraging and movement behavior. Jorie lives in Tupper Lake with her husband Nathan, who is an Environmental Conservation Officer for NYSDEC. She enjoys hiking and paddling in the Adirondacks with her husband, son, and their labrador retrievers.