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Spotlights

Teaching a New Generation to Protect Wildlife and Wild Places

Teaching a New Generation to Protect Wildlife and Wild Places


Otterbein’s Zoo and Conservation Science program welcomed leading women in wildlife conservation from the United States and abroad to campus on Oct. 12 and 13 to talk about the practical side of their work, including both challenges and rewards. These speakers came to campus from as far away as Cameroon, Madagascar, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo to inspire a new generation of aspiring conservationists.

The summit, Finding Your Voice: Inspirational Stories from Women Who Protect Wildlife and Wild Places, included the following speakers:

Beth Armstrong
Consultant at Conservation Initiatives
Former Columbus & Brevard Zoo Field Conservation Coordinator

Kym Gopp
Curator of Conservation at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (Ohio)

Jessie Lowry
Conservation Manager at Blank Park Zoo (Iowa)

Susan Lutter
Ape Action Africa (Cameroon)

Susie McGuire
Founder and Director of Conservation Fusion (Madagascar)

Amy Reaume
Conservation Coordinator at Brevard Zoo (Florida)

Rebecca Rose
Former Field Conservation Coordinator at Columbus Zoo, 2000-2015 (Ohio)

Elizabeth Ross, Ph.D.
Founder and Director of Kasiisi Project (Uganda)

Jo Thompson, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Lukuru Foundation (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Anne Warner
Principal at Conservation Strategies (Oregon)
Former Conservation Manager at Oakland and Oregon Zoos

Some of the attendees shared what they learned or took away from the summit. Here is what they said:

  • “Something that greatly motivated me while attending this conference was just being reminded that all these wonderful, inspiring, and successful women all started where I am now. And to never be afraid to try, and never to fear failure.”
  • “I've become motivated to reach out to others with more experience to learn from them and apply it to my own love for conservation.”
  • “I thought that it was really cool how these women followed their passions without worrying about the money or self-benefit.”
  • “This conference really helped validate that I know this is where I belong and what I’m supposed to be doing.”
  • “I learned that people ‘in our tribe’ really do believe in me and the ambitions that I, AND my classmates, have. Connections that I made at this conference are going to be invaluable.”
  • “Paths aren’t always direct. We may think something is set in stone but it never is, and where we end up and how we get there is where we are meant to be.”
  • “Learning about these women who have achieved so much despite dramatic drawbacks really made me want to leap into this profession and get going (once I graduate).”
  • “This was an absolutely inspirational two days. Meeting and learning from these women was so empowering. I could hardly sleep last night from buzzing with excitement and planning how to save the world.”
  • “That the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. I also learned that one’s path isn't always linear. People will pull you in all directions and that you should take those opportunities.”
  • “Something that motivated me throughout every presentation was the emphasis on creating relationships with people (abroad and right next to you) because it was through my abroad trip to South Africa that I realized my connections to people were just as important as my connections with non-human primates.”
  • “Wildlife conservation is really about targeting people and their choices more so than anything having to do with animals.”
  • “It’s amazing to know that my path can go so many different ways and still have a huge impact on conservation.”
  • “The emotion and passion that shined through every speaker was flabbergasting and incredibly inspiring.”
  • “That there is HOPE; the enthusiasm of ALL the participants is definitely contagious!”
  • “I am not alone in this. I am part of a complex, diverse and beautiful army for conservation and we need to celebrate over every won battle, no matter how small.”
  • “That any experience you have can impact someone else.”

 
Learn more about Otterbein’s Zoo and Conservation Science program.