Joel Adams, Forestry and Wildlife Ecologist
Q: Where did you grow up?
I was born on the Flathead Indian Reservation in St. Ignatius, MT, and was raised in Missoula Montana
Q: What is your educational background?
I went to high school at Loyola Sacred Heart (Catholic School in Missoula) and graduated in 1993. In 2004, I graduated with my Associate in Forestry and a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Q: When/where did you start your career in Natural Resource Management?
When I was twelve years old I was fortunate enough to be paired with Joe & Sheryl through the Big Brothers and Sisters organization. Joe was my mentor in the outdoors. He helped me go through Hunters Safety, helped me buy my first rifle, introduced me to hunting, taught me how to reload ammunition, and took me fishing. Joe and Sheryl were not Native American but treated me like family. Without their influence, I probably would not have discovered my love for the outdoors.
After high school, I enlisted in the Marine Corps and married my lovely wife of 27 years Jennifer; however, we have been together since 1990 since we were sophomores in high school. My military career was cut short due to a medical condition and subsequent Honorable Discharge. After working for a car dealership for several years I needed a change. Talking with my Mother, she urged me to go to Salish Kootenai College. I averaged 18 credits per quarter while working 20 hrs. per week while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. After 3.5 years I graduated and started my career in Natural resources.
My career has been incredibly diverse and have had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects. My practical experience started in college when I received a work-study position with a professor from the University of Montana. I helped with three years of fieldwork on Whitebark pine and was a co-author on that research project that was published in a peer-reviewed journal.
My first job in natural resources after college was at the University of Montana’s Lubrecht Experimental Forest as a Forestry Tech. After two years I left to work at the National Bison Range on the Flathead reservation as a Wildlife Biologist. However, after two years a Federal judge rescinded the agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife service and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribe in October of 2011. I began a series of temporary positions for the Nez Pierce Tribe, and Oregon Dept. of Wildlife that forced me to travel from my home, but added diversity to my work experience I wasn’t able to get in Montana at that time.
Q: How long have you worked for KNRD?
In October 2012, I started a full-time position with KNRD. I have always wanted to work for a Tribe and working for the Kalispel Tribe has given me a place and opportunities that I can see myself being here for a longs time.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
My family and I enjoy all aspects of outdoor recreation. We spend a significant amount of time hiking, camping, kayaking, paddle-boarding, skiing, and snowboarding. My favorite thing to do with my boys is a toss-up between hiking and fishing. We salmon fish with our grandpa on the Columbia River each year and fish other lakes and rivers for a variety of other species. My personal favorite thing to do is Mule deer hunting. I get to enjoy this with family and friends and as a bonus, my wife has recently become a successful hunter, which I thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to the days when I can instruct my children and watch them grow as ethical young sportsmen.
More recently I took up a new, rewarding hobby. During the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, we were in quarantine for a couple of months and I decided that I would invest in a mountain bike and begin riding trails and local downhill runs. This has been one of the best experiences I’ve undertaken and only wish I hadn’t waited until I turned 40 to start!
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: What do you like most about working for KNRD?
Small enough to be flexible and work on a variety of projects. I also appreciate the family and community first culture.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I really enjoy volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and in my younger kid’s classrooms. There are not very many male volunteers and I believe it is important for the kids to have good male role models. I also like watching my kids play sports, hiking, and visiting friends and family in Missoula and the Flathead Reservation.
Q: Last but not least, how many kids do you have and how old are they?
I have four; my oldest is my daughter Shoshonne 27, my sons Jacy 21, Miles 13, and Kai 12. I would do anything for my kids and I take pride in having a strong marriage, and a loving and supportive family that allows our kids to pursue their dreams.