Natchez native accepts United States Wildlife and Fisheries Service summer internship in Indiana

Published 5:50 pm Monday, May 17, 2021

Natchez native Hadley Henry accepted an internship to work with the United States Wildlife and Fisheries Service at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Seymour, Indiana this summer.

Her internship will be 12 hours away from home and will last until school starts back. Henry said she knows she will have her Australian Shepard. She is getting out of her comfort zone and entering the unknown.

“The farthest I have ever lived (from home) is Starkville,” Henry said. “I honestly have no idea what I will be doing. I will be assisting with the fieldwork they will be doing and that is about all I know. I’m terrified, but I’m super excited too. I’m terrified of not meeting their expectations.”

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She grew up hunting and fishing with her dad Eddie Ray Henry and graduated from Cathedral High School. She chose to attend Mississippi State University for its wildlife and fisheries program. She finished her sophomore year this May.

Henry originally wanted to be a veterinarian, so she worked at Riverside Animal Clinic while in high school. She realized she did not want to work with people’s pets, but she did want to work with wild animals.

Her mom Tracy Henry is an instructor for Pilates Girl and her dad works for Southern Tree Service. Her mom’s friend Pam Horton suggested she study wildlife and fisheries, Henry said.

“She is who got me started with wildlife and fisheries,” Henry said. “She worked with wildlife and fisheries. You don’t hear a whole lot about them except for game wardens. I’m wanting to be a wildlife biologist when I graduate.”

In the summer between her freshman and sophomore year at MSU, she volunteered at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Sibley. At the refuge, she learned a lot about the environment. She said she observed the refuge’s adaption to floodwaters by seeing the water lines on trees.

Her summer at St. Catherine Creek consisted of cleaning a butterfly garden, mowing, trail cleaning and occasionally tagging along with Wildlife Biologist Kent Ozment, she said.

“He knows everything. Anytime I went anywhere with Kent, he would be telling me ‘this is an environmental change of this area, or this is a certain type of bird,’” Henry said. “I learned to get where I want to go. I’m going to have to put in a lot of hard work first. You are not going to get into the fun stuff first. You have to get your hands dirty.”

After college, her goal is to travel and to see as much as she can while working with wildlife. For the past three years, she has traveled to Maine to hunt black bears. She said seeing and watching black bears in the wild is cool because black bears are silent in the woods. She said Maine is so beautiful, so she would be happy if she worked there one day.

This winter, Henry volunteered at the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge during the lottery deer hunts and youth hunts. She would take kids to their stands early in the morning and pick them up with their deer afterward.

Henry is an avid deer hunter, and she killed her first buck by herself when she was 13 years old, she said. Henry wants to teach people that hunting is an experience of respect and not about the kill.

“You are getting out and in nature all day or however long you are out there,” Henry said. “Kids need to be brought up in hunting the right way and to care about (the experience). Not to just be looking for that trophy buck, but to respect you are interacting with wildlife and experience it.”