Indiana University Bloomington field biology specialist Mark Sheehan has spent the past 30 years pursuing two disparate career paths. In 2012, after 30 year of work in IT, Sheehan retired and moved back to Bloomington with his family. Little did he know this would be the start of second career. He dived back into the study of nature in early 2012 when his wife alerted him to an opening for a wildflower counter in IU's Department of Biology. Sheehan said he feels happiest when he is in nature, preferably alone and doing something meaningful. Wildflower counting catapulted him into his "second life," as he describes the current stage in his journey. Sheehan's involvement in IU's Department of Biology leapt forward later in 2012 when he became part of a four-person field crew that censused nearly 32,000 trees in the IU/Smithsonian Institution forest diversity plot at Lilly-Dickey Woods near Nashville. In 2017, he led the four-person crew that re-counted those trees. The arc of Sheehan's second life seems still to be ascending. Recently, he was hired to be the local eyes, ears and hands for a long-term ecology research project conducted at Lilly-Dickey Woods by scholars from Rice University and the University of New Mexico.
"I took 30 years off from my deep devotion to the study of nature," Sheehan said. "Now I'm back. I consider any hour spent in the forest to be an hour added to my life."
After 30 years in tech, IU field biology specialist gets back to nature
By: GRACE STRYKER
Friday, September 7, 2018