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Cynthia Osmundson

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Cynthia Osmundson is leader of the Nongame Wildlife Program at the Minnesota DNR for the past three years, I work with fascinating wildlife and awesome people. And I get to make a difference by helping protect our state’s biological diversity so people can continue to enjoy wildlife and nature.

I’ve worked for MN DNR since 1996, but my wildlife story began long before that in south central Minnesota, as part of a family that enjoyed frequent outdoor adventures. Time spent on the family farm with my grandmother, who loved flowers, birds and books, further rooted me to the land and nature.

After high school, I couldn’t wait to head west into the mountains, and see new wildlife and wilderness. I earned a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in Missoula and gained valuable work experience banding ducks, live trapping beaver, assisting with grizzly bear research, and for two years a dream job, rafting the Green and Colorado Rivers to survey for nongame wildlife, birds and fish, for the state of Utah.

I strengthened my knowledge of wildlife and scientific methods by earning a Master of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Wyoming, followed by employment with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and then the Minnesota DNR. Most of my MN DNR years were dedicated to habitat management on state Wildlife Management Areas.

Along the way, I “settled down,” married, started a family, and began another sort of adventure, exposing my own kids to nature and outdoors exploration as my parents did for me. Rooted within me alongside a deep connection to nature, is an equally deep commitment to social justice. I strive to bring a commitment to equity and inclusion to my leadership of the Nongame Wildlife Program. Over the coming years, I hope to expand opportunities for all Minnesotans to learn about and experience wildlife and nature.
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