Growing up in a North Carolina waterfowling family, Ed Farley couldn't imagine his career would allow him to further the conservation of the wetlands he sloshed through as a kid.

"I didn't even want to speak it. It was too perfect," Farley said. "But it was truly a dream of mine to be a biologist for Ducks Unlimited."

In August Farley became DU's new biologist for New York. He's responsible for shaping the preservation and enhancement of waterfowl habitat in an Atlantic Flyway state that's crucial for a diversity of ducks and geese.

"It really is an outdoor paradise up here. New York has extensive public lands and waters, and a lot more opportunity for outdoor recreation than I ever imagined. It's perfect," he said.

The new role is just Farley's latest at Ducks Unlimited. He began as a conservation intern in 2015 at the Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office in Michigan. His first move to New York was in 2016 where he worked in DU's wetland mitigation program in New York and Vermont.

Farley earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. While working at Ducks Unlimited he earned his master's degree in fish and wildlife biology and management from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He now has a home across the road from the fabled Montezuma Waterfowl Complex, where he nearly lives among the waterfowl populations he's helping to improve.

DU's priority areas in upstate New York are the Lake Ontario watershed and the St. Lawrence River Watershed, which are important staging and wintering areas. Coastal marshes are important for a variety of dabbling ducks, and other parts of the state are hot spots for scaup, sea ducks and canvasbacks.

Farley said several projects are in progress, including a coastal marsh enhancement at Braddock Bay and an enhancement at Blind Bay Marsh along the St. Lawrence River.

"I'm incredibly lucky to be at Ducks Unlimited," he said. "This path is what I thought was the best way to be a good steward of the environment and the passion I love."