Despite growing up in Philadelphia’s “inner city” and having very little contact with green spaces, I have always been fascinated by wildlife. After completing my first internship in environmental education at the Philadelphia Zoo, I decided to pursue wildlife conservation as a career; I proceeded to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Zoo and Wildlife Biology from Malone University. After completing several internships and part-time jobs while in college, I was hired full-time as an Ambassador Animal Keeper at Nashville Zoo.
Over the years, both as an intern and a full-time keeper, I have had the honor of working with over 100 species of animals, ranging from mammals such as leopards, binturongs, sloths, and porcupines, to birds such as owls, hawks, falcons, hornbills and parrots, to a countless number of ectotherms like reptiles, amphibians, and several invertebrates. In addition to caring for such an incredible variety of species, I have had the privilege of providing up-close educational experiences for thousands of people around the country (and meeting some dope individuals along the way), through animal shows at the zoo and outreach education in the community .
But now, after 7 years in the zoo world, I have decided to tread a different path in the realm of wildlife conservation: field biology. I am currently a graduate student at Georgia Southern University, where I am studying a very indistinct, but extremely vulnerable, marsh-dwelling species, the Seaside Sparrow.
This blog exists to give you an inside look at some of the inner-workings of my participation in wildlife conservation, and hopefully convince you to pay careful attention to the world around you. I will make you this promise: looking closely at the natural world will not only fascinate you, it will make you feel small in a healthy way. You will find that the person who just offended you, your fear of failing, or your crippling concern with people’s opinions, grow increasingly small in comparison to the magnitude of diversity and complexity that is both within and around you. You will be different.
Thank you coming along for the ride, and I hope you learn something that you’ll remember.