Prescott College ASK Career Network
Mentor Biography

Ken Kingsley, AZ
Senior Scientist (retired), SWCA Environmental Consultants

Professional Biography:
Ken really began his career at Prescott College, where he worked as a field and lab assistant for a biology professor. He did surveys for riparian birds in the Verde Valley. After that, Ken helped design and manage a wildlife preserve for a guest ranch in Wickenburg, Ariz., while creating a field station for Prescott College students, and being a naturalist for a guest ranch. He went to graduate school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and did a thesis on mammals of a mountain range in Death Valley. Ken complete his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Entomology and Ecology. Most of his career has involved doing surveys for rare and endangered species and contributing to the development of conservation plans. For the past decade, Ken has primarily worked for the National Park Service.

Work Description:
Ken is a conservation biologist with over 40 years of experience in ecological research and management, retired after 14 years as a senior scientist with SWCA Environmental Consultants ( HIs work has included invertebrate, mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, and plant surveys of many areas in the Southwestern U.S. and Hawaii. He has worked in a variety of natural and human-influenced habitats including wilderness, subterranean, montane, wetland, desert, riparian, aquatic, agricultural, and urban environments. Ken's background combines field skills, experience exploring challenging environments, natural history interpretation, technical writing skills, and critical analysis abilities. He has served for the past three years as a volunteer at Zion National Park, and has been volunteering in a variety of capacities for Arizona State Parks, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service since he retired from SWCA in 2005. Ken has conducted field surveys for wildlife and plants in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas. He has published papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature on insects, mammals, endangered birds, and integrated pest management, and presented papers at many professional meetings. He has also published articles and photographs in other magazines and wrote a weekly natural history column for a newspaper for four years. Ken designed and managed a private 4,500-acre wildlife preserve and a natural history museum for a guest ranch in Arizona. He has mentored other scientists, taught high school, college, and graduate students, and provided interpretive programs in a variety of settings. Ken has also served as an adjunct professor for The Audubon Expedition Institute and Prescott College, and he continues to engage in a variety of volunteer projects involving natural history interpretation, wildlife surveys, and ecological studies. Ken is an avid hiker, backpacker, canoeist, kayaker, and mountain biker. He has had continuing education training as a Certified Interpretive Host, Wilderness First Responder, Pet First Aid, Animal Rescue in Disasters,and  the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Skills and Safety course. Ken has acted as a supernumerary with the Arizona Opera Company and an actor with the Saint Francis Players.

How do you spend most of your time at your job?
Ken works on projects of his choosing. He writes, photographs, hikes, explores, serves as a resource person for scientists and park rangers, identifies insects, plants, and other wildlife, and talks with park visitors and staff.

What are you most proud of in regard to your career history?
Ken writes "I was able to develop greater understanding of and protection plans for several interesting wildlife species. I contributed to the learning and career paths of several protégés. I solved Arizona's worst mosquito problem. I continue to explore and learn about the natural world."

What roadblocks did you encounter along your journey to find the right career?
Ken has tried several radically different paths at various times in his life. He has been a full-time peace and civil rights activist, a printer, a street person, a purveyor of recreational substances, a librarian, a social worker, and a biologist. The only path on which hefound happiness and success is as a biologist.

Prescott College ASK Network Q & A
Q: Please provide a listing of the UG School(s) you attended:
A: Prescott College, San Francisco State College, University of Chicago
Q: Please list your major(s)/concentration(s): Conservation Biology
A: Q: What was your UG year of graduation at PC?
A: 1972
Q: Please list any professional organizations or board affiliations
A: Society for Conservation Biology, The Widllife Society, Arizona and Utah Native Plant Societies and more!

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Prescott College Advancement Office
220 Grove Ave
Prescott, AZ 86301-2912
P: 928-350-4505 E: