Peak joins team at Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery
Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery has reopened to the public and even though it has been closed for the past year, there has been work behind the scenes as well as the addition of a new staff member.
Richard Peak has been hired as the outreach biologist coordinator for the hatchery.
A native of California, Peak acquired his fish biology education from Oregon State University after serving in the United States Coast Guard.
His first job after graduation was in Michigan working on an invasive sea lamprey project, which was seasonal.
Peak then worked at Norfork National Fish Hatchery. After realizing he had a passion for outreach biology, Peak was hired at Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery.
Growing up, Peak always had an interest in fish. “I always had fish tanks and I loved them,” said Peak, stating if there was something wrong with a fish, he wanted to see how he could fix it.
While in the United States Coast Guard, he discovered there was more avenues than just marine biology such as fish biology with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
He visited a hatchery while in the service and inquired about how to work there then was directed on the path of education to pursue it.
As of June, Peak has been with the hatchery for one year, which was around the time it was shut down to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peak is loving his work at the hatchery. “It is a blast. The visitor center is kind of like my baby,” said Peak, stating he is excited to work with school students now that the facility has reopened such as a class from the Thayer Boys and Girls Club that recently attended the hatchery.
Students often enjoy interacting with the outreach animals at the hatchery including baby turtles, box turtles, newts and viewing various species in the aquarium area. There are a few non-native species that were pets, which help to teach what to do with pets, so they do not become invasive.
“I love being here. So far, everybody has been so nice and welcoming in the community. It is not just the hatchery, it is everybody around…It has been amazing so far,” said Peak.
One project Peak has in the process includes a new display for the turtles. He is also working on protypes of projects to show his boss for approval.