After earning a master’s degree in biology at Fordham five years ago, Anco moved to Wyoming to serve as assistant curator of the Draper Natural History Museum, part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. The museum, about 50 miles east of Yellowstone National Park, features a live raptor education program and introduces visitors to the sights, sounds, and smells of the region’s diverse ecosystems, from alpine to mountain meadow to plains.
Anco hadn’t considered museums as a career path until he worked closely with Fordham biology professor Evon Hekkala, Ph.D., conducting genetic research using historical African leopard specimens at the American Museum of Natural History. Beyond their educational mission, he realized, museums are “actively involved in research and, in some instances, conservation action.”
That’s what drew him to the Draper museum, which Anco said has been monitoring the occupancy, distribution, reproduction, and diet of golden eagles in the Bighorn Basin since 2009. He said he’s humbled and inspired by his work and where he does it.
“When I climb over a ridge and see how expansive this alpine landscape is, and that there’s literally no sign of human impact for miles and miles and miles, I get such a visceral feeling of raw nature that inspires me to care for it.”