Meet Grant Ballard
Point Reyes Bird Observatory Conservation Science
Role in the expedition?
I am a co-Principal Investigator, which means I help write the scientific proposals and papers, give presentations about our findings, and help to guide the direction of the project. In the field, I lead the Cape Crozier team (we have 3 field parties conducting the same research simultaneously at 3 different penguin colonies). I'm also responsible for technology and database management, so I try to keep all of the electronic gadgets working and the data organized so that it can be used as efficiently as possible.
Why I do what I do?
I love studying the natural world, and I am happiest when I get to live in the wilderness. I also believe it is important to contribute to our understanding of how ecosystems function. I feel unbelievably privileged to get to spend 3 months per year in such an amazing, pristine, beautiful place (Ross Island). I've loved watching birds and other wild animals as long as I can remember, and watching penguins every day makes me very happy.
Where did I grow up?
St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) - until I was 16.
What were my favorite and least favorite things about school?
I was happy in school as long as I felt like I was learning new things and my teachers were excited about what they were teaching. I had a few especially great teachers in high school that got me into English, biology, chemistry, and physics. Also, I really liked most of my classmates, but there were a couple of bullies (in junior high school) that made some days pretty bad. I didn't like feeling like I never had enough time to do all my homework, and I didn't like it when I didn't understand class, or when the teacher seemed bored.