Teaching biological sciences has been Jim Lane’s dream since middle school. He grew up in Arden Hills, Minnesota, near 300 acres of wetlands and woods, where he spent the majority of his free time exploring. After high school, Jim enlisted in the United States Navy, qualifying for and completing the Naval Nuclear Power program. He served on-board the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln for four years as an analytical chemist and radiation control technician, completing two deployments to the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. Jim was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal and two Good Conduct Medals for his service. Although his naval experience provided great opportunities, Jim knew his place was not in the belly of an aircraft carrier, but in front of a classroom.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in biology, Jim has worked as a summer camp instructor in St. Paul’s Como Park Zoo and an Interpretive Naturalist at Springbrook Nature Center, teaching subjects ranging from paleontology to plant biology. Since 2004, he has assisted in banding, releasing and monitoring Saw-whet owl populations in northeastern Minnesota as a research volunteer with the United States Forest Service.
In 2009, Jim participated in summer training in support of Project IceCube, the world’s largest telescope built to detect neutrino particles and the biggest research project ever attempted in Antarctica. The training provided Jim and five other Knowles Fellows an opportunity to network with teachers and scientists involved in polar research and become part of the community of people bringing this research to high school science classrooms.