We bid farewell to Jennifer Mata who recently accepted a position as the fire ecologist at the Jarbridge Field Office in Twin Falls, Idaho and started on May 1.
Jennifer was the regional fire botanist for Central California supporting the four field offices of Bakersfield, Bishop, Folsom and Hollister. She worked on botanical clearances and fire ecology for the fuels program.
Jennifer began with BLM in 1997 working summers in the Eagle Lake Field Office in the Student Career Educational Program (SCEP) as a range management specialist while she attended school in Chico. Jennifer graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in range management from California State University-Chico in 2003 and became a full-time BLM employee as the regional fire botanist for central California.
She finds a lot of her energy and motivation from her work and says, "I have a real desire to not only do what is beneficial for the resources but also to ensure that we are managing the public lands so that the general public can enjoy them."
Over the years, she has had several interesting adventures. She spent 21 days in Texas with a Type 1 incident management team, assisting with the Columbia shuttle recovery efforts. She also spent 20 days in Las Vegas eradicating exotic Newcastle disease in chickens.
Jennifer's husband, Abel Mata, is a fire engine captain in Bakersfield. They met when he was a Diamond Mountain Hot Shot. They have been married six years and have two cats and two dogs. She enjoys yoga, mountain biking, and hiking with her dogs. "I was lucky enough to marry my best friend who enjoys all of the same things that I do," Jennifer says.