Show Me Your Ways

I always knew I wanted to work directly with animals, but was never clear on exactly how or in what capacity. This made it difficult for me to focus my efforts and go in a straight line toward a career, but I knew a biology degree was a good start.

After graduating I tried anything and everything I could that had any relation to animals. I learned new skills, gained knowledge, and built a great network of people along the way. I also learned a lot about myself – my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and most importantly, I learned I need to make the lives of animals better.

This personal insight was really driven home when I worked as the manager of a wildlife sanctuary, where one of my responsibilities was to answer calls from the public. What an eye opener it was into just how little many people knew about our wild friends, and how little information it took to have them gain respect, understanding, and tolerance for their "nuisance" neighbour.

I loved educating people on ways to peacefully co-existence with animals, inspiring them to care and to share their new knowledge with others. In particular, I loved hearing a caller change their tune from, "Please come and get rid of this animal for me!" to "Oh, I understand. That's amazing. I'll just leave them alone to live their lives and won't disturb them."

So I am here at the Wildlife Center as the fall 2014 education outreach extern to add the skills of public outreach to my tool belt. The Center’s outreach efforts are extensive and far-reaching. It is a privilege to be here to learn from the best.

I'm excited to learn communication skills that will equip me to connect with many types of people in varied settings via various modalities, and to pass those skills onto others. My dream would be to have nature and wildlife studies further integrated into the typical elementary school curriculum, causing a shift in cultural values over the generations that includes the conservation and preservation of wild spaces and widespread respect, tolerance, and understanding for the amazing non-human animals with whom we share these spaces.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." I couldn't agree more.

--Michelle
WCV Class of 2014
 

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