Karina Blizzard began working for DNR in1992 as a youth program coordinator.
Today, as an Associate Director, she is the most senior female member of the
Wildlife and Heritage Service leadership team.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in wildlife management?
My parents taught me to appreciate the outdoors but it was my sister who
inspired me to get into the field of natural resources as a career.
Tell me about the nature of your responsibilities as Associate Director for
DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS).
I am part of the WHS leadership team. Our unit works under one general mission,
“Conserve Maryland’s diverse native wildlife, plants and the natural communities
that support them, using scientific expertise and informed public input.” My
main responsibility is to educate and inform the public about wildlife
management issues, essentially taking all of our science and getting it to the
public (stakeholders, youths, adults, legislators, hunters, etc.) in an easy to
Would it be safe to say that the hunting season is the busiest time of year for
you? What are you doing during the off-season?
Well, there doesn’t really seem to be an off-season, but hunting season is
definitely one of the busier times of the year.
What is the most important point you would try to relate to the general public
about conserving our state’s resources?
A lot of what our agency does on any given day is viewed as very controversial.
We make difficult and controversial decisions on a daily basis, but in the end
all of our decisions are based on sound science.
What are your greatest concerns regarding the future of Maryland’s natural
Declining hunters are a great concern for several reasons. Many people do not
realize the importance hunters play in helping manage wildlife populations
across the state. Take white-tailed deer for example: Without hunters the
population would be allowed to grow to numbers that would be unacceptable from
both a cultural and biological carring capacity. The end result would be a deer
herd in poor health and many, many nuisance problems as the herd out competes
other species in the ecosystem, often causing severe agricultural and property
Another important factor is that hunters pay for wildlife management in the
State of Maryland. Ninety-eight percent of the WHS budget comes from the sale of
hunting licenses and an excise tax on firearms and ammunition.
Karina was born in LaVale, Maryland and received a Bachelors of Science degree from
Frostburg State University. Her sister, Caroline, also works for DNR as director
of the Discovery Center at Deep Creek Lake State Park. Karina lives in Annapolis
with her dog, Lilly, an English pointer.
Your favorite spot – the one you go to “to get away from it all?”
I’d tell you but then you would know where to find me.
Tell me about the last book you read…
Colter, A True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had. The book highlights the bond
between a hunter and bird dog, from training to hunting and the journey along
What are the projects, experiences or accomplishments here at DNR that are
the most memorable, or from which you take the most pride?
There have been so many projects that are memorable but the one that I take the
most pride in is being a part of the team that successfully implemented the
first black bear hunting season in 52 years. I had the opportunity to work with
some of the most outstanding staff in the department, and in the end, science
Any last thoughts, ideas or comments you’d like to include?
I love my job, the people I work with, and hope I get to do it for a long time
to come. Although I’m a part of the leadership team of the WHS, I still get to
go outside and work with critters and get dirty. And at the end of the day,
collectively we are making a difference. Kind of sappy but true!
The Maryland Natural Resource...Your guide to recreation and conservation in Maryland.