May is full of living and learning.

Here is what May 2013 has meant for me in phrases:

  • school group galore
  • California site visits
  • sea otters
  • inspiration
  • teacher workshops
  • sprinkles of fun
  • conservation
  • study study study, learn learn learn

Every time I think I am busy, it is confirmed, I can be busier!  May was a formidable example of this.  When presented with the opportunity to visit California in the midst of the insanity, of course the answer was YES!  A short 3 days including site visits at the California Academy of Sciences, Monterrey Bay Aquarium and the Bay Area Discovery Museum left me exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

The most amazing part of California for me was viewing wild sea otters sleeping, playing and eating less than 50 meters from me!  Many of my friends taunt me for my lack of seeing a river otter in the wild.  I have been a keeper for river otters and spent countless hours in a kayak on several rivers where otters are found and they seem to stay away from me.  Perhaps it has something to do with my incessant singing while kayaking?!  What can I say, I sing when I am happy!  But anyway, I have yet to see a river otter in the wild.  However I have now seen several sea otters in the wild and oh my they will capture your heart with their cute faces and personalities.  Southern sea otter populations are declining and I commend the work the Monterrey Bay Aquarium does to nurture their populations through education and rehabilitation.  Learn more about SORAC (Sea Otter Research and Conservation).

Back at the Dallas Zoo work continues educating students and teachers in a wide range of programs from career based, savanna science, adaptations, food webs, Australian wildlife and most recently my last teacher workshop of the season titled Destination Conservation.  Interestingly enough the entire week before the workshop I had the opportunity to be involved in several conservation meetings.  The most inspiring was an almost two hour chat with a former Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Director as well as a scientist with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Basically, two awesome people who are extremely knowledgeable and relevant to current worldwide conservation and how education at a zoo can play an important role to support wildlife.  The best part about our chat was their ability to discuss worldwide issues and yet still relate to my programs.  I love down to Earth scientists!  Especially because that is what I strive to be… no more “high and mighty can’t share my data and knowledge” science!  Let’s make science available and understandable for all.

I always say the best part of my job is I am constantly learning new things and May has pushed my limits to the amount I can fit.  May isn’t even over yet! AGH!  I am happy to be a lifelong learner and I will fit more in.

Now to get your wheels turning, I leave you with something to think about/learn:  Last night I watched this video which has me thinking.  Especially as I design new programs, curriculum and graphics this video will definitely inspire me to do some more research on social psychology and how it relates to conservation behavior change.  So take a peek and learn how your common sense is not what you should use… sometimes.

“Three myths of behavior change: What you think you know that you don’t.” by: Jeni Cross; Sociology Professor at Colorado State University

Live and Learn.




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