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Zandy Hillis-Starr a 'Star' in National Geographic

Sept. 20, 2004 – When you read through the article on global warming in the September issue of National Geographic, look for a familiar face on page 46.
It's Zandy Hillis-Starr, chief of resources management for all three national park facilities on St. Croix.
Hillis-Starr, 46, was featured in a sidebar about her work with Hawksbill turtles at Buck Island Reef National Monument.
She said National Geographic was interested in a research project done by the park and Thane Wibbles from the University of Alabama that focused the effects of hurricanes and vegetation loss on the turtles' gender ratio.
Research shows, and National Geographic reports, that hot weather in the middle third of the turtles' incubation creates more female than male eggs. Storms rip away trees that shade nests on beaches, thereby making the area hotter.
"Severe weather events really knock the socks off in favor of the females," Hillis-Starr said in the National Geographic sidebar.
She said the National Geographic photographer Peter Essick visited in October 2003 on a round-the-world photo shoot for the global warming article.
"He spent three nights and took a thousand pictures, if not more," Hillis-Starr said.
She said the picture shows St. Croix's lights in the background, an aspect that helps to show human impact on nature. This ties in with the article because it focuses on how humans affect global warming.
Hillis-Starr said she's received numerous calls about her brush with fame, including one from her mother who didn't know about the National Geographic visit.
She said that she wasn't sure the photo would actually make the cut and didn't want to get her mother too excited about the possibility of her appearance in a national magazine.
Hillis-Starr and her husband, Rick, have a 4-year-old daughter, Alexandra.
She's lived in St. Croix for 40 years, and spent the last 17 working for the park.

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