Desiree Narango holding a Carolina Chickadee.
Desiree Narango holding a Carolina Chickadee. Photo provided by Desiree Narango.

Desiree Narango (@DLNarango) is an ecologist who studies wildlife in human-dominated landscapes, and plant-animal interactions. My current research looks at how urban and suburban areas can be better managed to support biodiversity and the effects of nonnative plants on food webs. I am currently a postdoc at the Advanced Science Research Center at City University of NY and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

I love pets! My family currently has a dog (Starla), a chinchilla (Miles), a tarantula (Rosie) and a turtle (Yertle)!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

My house is outfitted with more bird decor than I care to admit.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I can speak Spanish at a toddler-level

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?


9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

It’s spring migration so Southeast Arizona!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

All of Tom Robbins books are some of my favorite novels I’ve ever read

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Go for a hike with my son

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My family, my binoculars, morning coffee

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

I think I was more positively shaped by the people I’ve met then the books I’ve read

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

A vet

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Love for nature

19 What got you excited in science?

Field courses in the beautiful Adirondacks

20 What excites you about science now?

So many questions to answer, so little time

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Video games, currently Stardew Valley & One hour One life

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

90’s pop music trivia

23 What is your favorite game?

That’s a tough one. Maybe scrabble? I like all games

24 What is the last book you read?

The Stranger in the Woods By Michael Finkel

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Never skimp on your time with family and your time to sleep

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Sing on stage

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Travel as much as you can and believe in yourself!

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Taking a good walk in the woods

29 What is the last thing you watched?

“Home” with my son

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Someone once gave me a raccoon penis bone that I carried around as a good luck charm for awhile. It’s called a baculum and folks used to use them to tamp their pipes.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Carolina Chickadee

32 What is your favorite book?

Watership Down

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

A good creamy soup or chowda

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

The first day of spring

35 What is your favorite plant?

Native plant: White oaks
indoor plants: African violets

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Trees ‘talk’ to each other using chemicals in the air and a network of below-ground fungi

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

conifer trees

39 What is your favorite sound?


40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am highly empathetic

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Giving birth to my son

43 What kind of tree would you be?

An oak tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

There are moose and bobcats in my backyard and very high moth diversity at my light!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I grew up in a large city and never went camping until I was in my twenties

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Earyn McGee, MS (@Afro_Herper)
Jason Ward (@JasonWardNY)