In 2015, I attended my first Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) Expo in San Francisco. Basically, it is an action packed day full of inspiration. There are lectures and presentations given throughout the day by the various partners of WCN and dozens upon dozens of conservation organizations set up all around to tell you about the amazing work they are doing to spread education and awareness to the masses and hopefully reduce the global crisis that is killing this beautiful planet we all call home. Check them out at www.wildnet.org
The first year I was there, I had the amazing opportunity to meet the most inspirational person in conservation, Jane Goodall. It was incredible, and she her hope for the world and our ability to preserve it was something I will never forget.
During the expo I heard from conservationists all over the world doing incredible work in the field. I was particularly inspired by Robyn Appleton of Spectacled Bear Conservation Society (www.sbc-peru.org) operating out of Peru. I was so inspired by her talk, that I recently visited Peru for a few weeks conducting an internship for my graduate program.
This year, while Jane Goodall was not there, I was still expecting to leave full of inspiration and ready to take on the world. My expectations were fully met. This year I felt much more connected as I knew more organizations, more people, and had established myself in the conservation world a bit more than in 2015. I listened to many incredible organizations and met a few that were particularly inspiring, most notably, Global Penguin Society (www.globalpenguinsociety.org) working to save all 18 species of penguin, Polar Bears International (www.polarbearsinternational.org) working tirelessly to combat climate change and spread awareness, and Mar Alliance (www.maralliance.org) one of the newest partners for WCN and focused on marine life.
It was also a pleasure to hear Dr. Laurie Marker with Cheetah Conservation Fund (www.cheetah.org) speak again, and to hear from Cheetah Conservation Botswanna (www.cheetahconservationbotswanna). Additionally, I spoke to countless organizations that were at the expo but not a WCN partner and continued to expand my network and reach. My hope is to do another internship in 2017 as I wrap my graduate program with another organization making a difference in the lives of animals and people. My dream is that this networking will lead to an opportunity to work in the field of conservation one day.
If you have never attended the WCN expo, you are missing out. October 14, 2017 is the date set for next year, and the awe-inspiring Jane Goodall will be back as the keynote speaker.
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