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Faces of Fort Cavazos: Chelsea Plimpton

Faces of Fort Cavazos: Chelsea Plimpton
Posted at 7:53 PM, Oct 25, 2023

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — There are several people that live and work on Fort Cavazos, and some of them are not directly connected to the military.

These are people like Chelsea Plimpton, the Lead Pollinator Biologist for the Fort Cavazos Adaptive and Integrative Management Program.

Her story begins nearly 2,000 miles away on the Upper East Coast.

"After I graduated with my bachelor's degree for the University of Rhode Island, I became a seasonal wildlife biologist," Plimpton said.

"I jumped around to a bunch of seasonal positions within the wildlife field.”

This eventually led her to Fort Cavazos in 2017. She began working with her now husband, Charlie.

”We were both kind of teamed together,” Plimpton said.

“We started off doing some avian surveys — from there we kind of jumped from a couple different projects.”

Now, with the help of their team, they are studying and tagging monarch butterflies as they migrate through Fort Cavazos.

This is work that she says is more important now than ever.

”It’s up for a potential listing decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It potentially could be listed under the Endangered Species Act,” Plimpton said.

“It's really important for people to know that they are considered a flagship species — they’re very well liked. Think of tigers, pandas, polar bears. A lot of these species that everybody thinks of.”

She has worked with monarchs for the past six years — work her husband is proud to help her with.

”A lot people might say they try to escape their other half, but I feel fortunate coming into work every day with her and getting to do the work we love doing,” Charlie Plimpton said.

Doing the work they do on a military installation is not a coincidence.

”If they’re listed as endangered, they could create limitations for military readiness, and we don’t really want to be seeing that,” Chelsea Plimpton said.

“The focus of our team is to be working with species that have the potential of being listed.”

From a young age, Chelsea Plimpton knew she wanted to work with animals and now works with monarch butterflies and other species and their habitats on post.