FARMINGTON — A local wildlife biologist is taking part in a series of nationally aired podcasts based on common questions people often ask about nature and wildlife.

Robert Cordes of Wilton, an assistant regional wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, is taking part in a Purdue University podcast called “Got Nature?”

During a new, weekly segment, “Boiler Up! For Wildlife,” host Rod Williams, associate professor of wildlife science at Purdue, asks a few wildlife biologists some common questions.  

Cordes is an alumnus of Purdue University in Indiana, where he did his undergraduate work and became friends with Williams, he said. He started by participating in Williams’ monthly “Got Nature?” podcasts, where major and current wildlife issues were discussed. But then the six- to eight-minute podcast series made a change to more common questions and became a weekly series with hopes of building a larger fan base.

Cordes was involved in the initial podcast on trail cameras and was asked to be one of about four regular biologist contributors, he said. The department approved Cordes’ involvement in the podcast series. Part of Cordes’ work is to help brainstorm ideas and topics for the podcasts.

“My thinking is, if we can develop a fan base with this podcast, it will transition in to a department podcast here in Maine,” Cordes said.

The MDIF&W is attemtping to reach out to more people through social media, exploring all kinds of avenues to reach the public and help them with questions and concerns on anything from moose to mayflies, Cordes said. Some of the podcasts are based on common questions he answers every day, from “what’s digging up my backyard” to “is it okay to eat the meat of white-tailed deer who have warts or fibromas?”

For those interested in wildlife, the podcast is a great thing to follow each week, he said. Topics discussed include diseases, hunting season predictions and harvest reports.

The podcast is available through the Purdue University website or can be played for free through iTunes, he said.  The link information is also available through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife website under “Blogs” and the “Inside Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.”

Cordes grew up in rural New York, around Corning, before attending Purdue. He received his master’s degree from Frostburg State University in Maryland and went to work for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. An opportunity came open in Maine and he went for it. He has worked for the MDIF&W through the Strong headquarters for 11 years.

The work involves data collection on wildlife, dealing with human-wildlife conflicts, and the development of projects for wildlife. Cordes can offer some simple solutions over the phone for a variety of animal issues and concerns — solutions that people can do for themselves, he said.

No question is too unimportant to ask, he said. “I would rather they came to us than to go on the Internet (for an answer).”

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