Kerr High School

Last week I attended Kerr High School's annual Career Day here in Houston to discuss what it means to be a wildlife biologist. I decided to make a poster board to better highlight the things I do, or want to do, and the many amazing things my friends and colleagues have participated in as well. Lucky for me, Kerr High School is a magnet school, meaning that students have to apply for admission and are as a result quite bright and eager to carve successful paths into the future. As I expected, the science world was underrepresented when I arrived, with only myself and a veterinarian to vouch for research-based and animal-related careers (discounting the human medical profession). I was shocked, then, when a handful of students sought me out directly because of their interests in wildlife biology, field work, marine sciences, laboratory work, and other areas of research. To know that wildlife biology has a future in this young generation is very comforting! It was a lot of fun to help students dissect their interest in animals and explain the differences between veterinary medicine and wildlife biology, as a lot of students don't know that being a biologist is really an option. The simple poster board I brought along was most helpful, not only in drawing students to my booth, but in helping them articulate what they want to focus on in college. Because I was unaware of a lot of opportunities until the end of college, I had plenty of information available for varying stages of aspiration: from high school ages to major choices to internships and job opportunities. I brought along The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, which is considered to be a landmark in the conservation movement and inspires a responsible relationship between people and the environment. Students pored over my lab books, got excited about wildlife rehabilitation volunteerism, and asked so many questions I could hardly keep up.

At one point, I was surrounded by almost fifteen students at once! It was pretty awesome to learn what these students are interested in: marine biology, forest ecology, ornithology, cell biology, working with animals... the list went on. I'm so happy I made little handouts with website information and internship opportunities; I don't think chocolate chip cookies could have disappeared more quickly! We even connected over twitter- social applications and website are growing tools in science and conservation, and no media should be excluded. These young people- curious, intelligent, passionate, shy, and kind- are the future of all fields of conservation. It empowers me to know that not only are we are changing attitudes towards nature, we are changing actions towards nature. After my experience with the awesome Kerr High students, I lost my voice for a day, but I regained some fire in the belly.What an awesome day. You guys rock!

Wildlife Biology: where a picture is worth a thousand words

For more information on internships, job opportunities, and graduate information in wildlife biology, visit:

For local wildlife experience (Houston), visit: 

Thanks to all my rad friends and colleagues who submitted, or let me steal, photos:

Tor Bertin
Megan Brown
Mark Cancellare
Katie Needham
Roberta Newbury
Kimberly Oldehoeft
Michael Wickens
Clay Wilton