Owner, GIS and Research Consultant
Black Cat GIS was founded by Amanda Hackney to provide solutions to the geospatial demands of the conservation and business communities. Ms. Hackney has over 15 years of experience in the natural resources and GIS fields.
A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Amanda grew up in the agriculture industry on a cattle and poultry farm. She double majored in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and Animal Science at Louisiana State University. After graduation she spent two years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. While in Virginia she worked on a variety of coastal projects- gaining experience with shorebirds, waterbirds, invasive plant species, GIS and GPS field work and diamondback terrapin ecology. This work led to her enrolling in graduate school at Clemson University. She received her Master's degree in Wildlife Biology in 2010 with research focused on spatially modeling diamondback terrapin nest predation risk.
After a brief stint at in the Fort Worth Zoo Education Department, she went to work for Audubon Texas as first their Coastal Program Manager and later as Senior Coastal Conservation Biologist. While at Audubon she became an expert in colonial waterbirds, worked on multiple coastal restoration projects, promoted conservation based education programs and completed many GIS analyses of colonial waterbird rookeries and coastal erosion. In 2016 she left Audubon to found Black Cat.
Amanda is happiest outdoors, preferably on a horse or on the water.
Jess is from ( what she remembers as) a small town, on the outskirts of Houston - Magnolia, Texas. She has a background in wildlife biology, including a BS from Texas A&M University, and a hard earned Master's Degree from Clemson University. Jess was awarded funding from Clemson and the U.S. Forest Service, which funded her research on habitat use by Rafinesque's big-eared bat.
After college, Jess worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife, managing a research database so others could access pertinent scientific information. She then worked as an Outdoor Educator at an outdoors school outside of Austin, teaching children about the plants and animals seen on their long summer hikes. Jess left education to take a GIS position with Austin Community College, helping the college visualize socio-economic status of students throughout their service area. This information was critical to the outreach programs of the college, ensuring equitable educational opportunities.
While Jess' field work focused primarily with bats, she has participated in a variety of projects - including studies on feral cats, fox squirrels, and water shrews. Jess has worked on projects along the Gulf and East Coasts, surveying properties for rare and endangered animals, recapture studies, and vegetation types.
When she's not making map magic happen, Jess enjoys being outside - working on garden projects, camping, and fishing.