My earliest memories & passions involved looking for wildlife in my backyard creek where I grew up in Kansas. I'm still pretty much the same person but now I look for my favorite wildlife around the world and becoming a vet meant I could give back to the wild animals that always inspired & intrigued me.
I also grew up with domesticated pets and I love helping our household fur-riends because the human:animal bond is one of the most special things in the world in my opinion.
I was connected to Re:wild by mutual conservation friends and ever since learning about their work I've been very happy to support it.
One of my favorite wildlife veterinary moments was working with Tasmanian devils at Re:wild’s implementing partner organization, Aussie Ark. I've wanted to vet on those devils for a long time and they were even more amazing (and often hilarious) in person!
Being involved with wildlife conservation will inevitably influence consumer habits. I try to shop intelligently and support those companies that are sensitive to the way they interact with our planet. It's just about impossible for the production of consumer goods to have zero adverse effects on our natural world but putting an effort towards sustainability is important to me.
I think spreading awareness is the first step in helping animals or a species or habitat facing challenges. Like Jane Goodall said "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved." So informing people is where it starts and this can be accomplished through something as simple as social media.
Monetary donations also go a long way, however this can be tricky because there's far more organization touting how much they help wildlife when really they do very little for our wildlife. Please do your research if you want to give a donation and make sure it's getting in the right hands that actually make a difference to wildlife & habitats that need help. I love that Re:wild is making it easy to do just that. Otherwise, there's no easy way to learn who's "good" and who's "not so good" so I like to find people or colleagues I can trust and are personally involved with whatever purpose I'm interested in supporting. If you follow my work - any organization I personally promote on my social media, like Re:wild, is one you can trust. I work with these organizations personally and know firsthand that donations to them go where they belong.
I'm in conversation with Re:wild about some very exciting locations/projects and I'm having a hard time narrowing it to one!
This is an impossible question for me, lol. Honestly, every experience gives me something unique & special to take home.
I'll share one that sticks out regarding the world of wildlife conservation and that's working with wild rhino in South Africa. The rhino is distinct regarding endangered species conservation because, second to illegal diamonds, they grow the next most expensive commodity on the black market — their horns. The rhino poaching crisis is very real and it's truly a war in Africa — many, many human lives lost on both sides. However, when one can protect rhino they can pretty much protect everything because rhino protection requires the most expensive & intensive security and anti-poaching efforts so everything else can benefit from that.
Seeing the best and the worst of rhino conservation was eye opening for me and brought my conservation-mind (& heart) to the next level. Working with conservationists & rangers that put their lives on the line has inspired me to do better every day.