Russell Taragan

Photo of Russell Taragan

Russell Taragan joined the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in 2007 as an outreach educator, visiting schools around the city with the Moveable Museum program, and contributing to teacher professional learning and resource development. Russell now works for the department of Volunteer Services as Manager of Tour Guides and Explainers. This team of approximately 300 volunteers helps welcome visitors to the Museum by answering questions and sharing crucial information about human culture, the natural world, and the universe beyond. Every year more than a thousand volunteers help the AMNH fulfill its mission statement by donating more than 100,000 person-hours to the Museum.

Russell attended SUNY Geneseo in western New York, receiving a B.S. in Biology in 2004. As a student he focused on ecology and conservation, conducting research on invasive macrophytes such as Myriophyllum (milfoils) in the Finger Lakes of NY, as well as Caulerpa taxifolia in the Ligurian Sea (Mediterranean). He also supported research on other invasive species, most notorious among them is Dreissena polymorpha, the ubiquitous zebra mussel now found in many freshwater environments including the Hudson River. Russell continues to contribute to research and education in diverse fields such as paleontology, oceanography, and ornithology.

Russell has long enjoyed hobbies connected to science and nature. He likes to kayak, scuba, hike, and spend time outdoors whenever possible. Other hobbies include rocketry, astronomy and microscopy, metal detecting, and building computers. Russell was first exposed to nature as a toddler, exploring the beaches of the Peconic Estuary to find rocks and shells. Like many New York residents, he also visited the AMNH as a child. Now that he works at the Museum, Russell considers it his duty to share the wonder and majesty of nature with others.