Category Archives: My Journey

Education is key to conservation

Education is key to conservation. I think that this is an incredible message worth sharing. It is what I aim to do every time I post on, our FB page or my twitter. I want to educate people and teach them about species they may never have heard of, so that they can care. You have to know something exists and that it is in trouble to be able to want it to help it. It is such a basic idea that can get over looked.

So I encourage you to share this photo, to remind people how important it is to learn every day. Keep an open mind and it can lead to a great idea that might just change the world.


A map of me

A map of me; exactly what the title says. It’s where I’ve been, where I’m going and where I want to be in my career as a conservationist and budding primatologist. It’s not been easy because I feel like I”m forging ahead on this path completely alone. I am the only primatology student at my undergraduate institution and I am the first in my family to go to college. When I started this journey I knew I had to create this site for a few reasons. Firstly, my love of writing and education. Secondly? I know how hard it is to do with no possible clue on where to go next and that is a terrifying feeling. So, for any young, budding primatologists, if you want to know how I got to where I am or where I’m going, this is for you.

A Map of Me

Green: Field sites I’ve been to

Purple: Education

Red: Home

Yellow: Goal

Click on the picture to visit my interactive map!

What would you take into the field?

As the time draws closer for my first ever extended period in the field as a real-live grownup, I find my self wondering, what on earth do I bring with me? Of course as a girl I wonder what if I need to look nice? Should I bring make-up? Just in case? Maybe follow Mireya Mayor‘s lead and pack a little black dress? But then the outdoors[wo]man in me kicks in and I wonder which parts of my Wilderness First Aid training I’ll need to use… Will I have to splint a leg with branches and a sleeping bag? What about stop a gushing wound? Then I wonder if I’ll end up pulling something Bear Grylls-esc and get stranded away from my camp and have to use nothing but a knife, a lighter and the shirt off my back to survive for days on end while living on the leaves and trying to not get eaten by a lion.

Well most of this stuff probably won’t happen, but now you know what it sounds like in my head! But I was curious after reading Mireya Mayor’s book Pink Boot and a Machete about what kinds of quirky things are useful in a field situation, so I reached out. I asked the Twitterverse what their item they would never be caught without in the field was, which also morphed into, which books do you read in the field. Here are some of the great responses:

Continue reading What would you take into the field?

tonkolili chimpanzee project

I am so excited to finally announce that I will be spending three magnificent weeks in Sierra Leon observing chimpanzees this summer. It has been a while since I published a personal post, since I have been waiting to hear back from a few different institutions regarding my future in primatology. But now that I am pumped full of excitement and vaccines, I think that it is safe to share a little bit about the Tonkolili Chimpanzee Project in the Tonkolili District of Sierra Leon in Western Africa.

Chimpanzees in Sierra Leon. Photo courtesy of the Arcus Foundation.
Chimpanzees in Sierra Leon. Photo courtesy of the Arcus Foundation.

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i’ll be back soon

I know that my posting frequency has drastically declined, but thank you guys all for hanging in there with me. I’m hurtling headlong into my last semester of undergrad and it’s been exhausting. As you may know I will be graduating a year early and will be heading off to Oxford for postgrad studies this coming fall, but there is still a lot to do in between now and then.

But between applying for graduation, preparing for my upcoming trek to Africa, dealing with some seriously stressful personal things (some people, you know?!), and getting ready to move overseas I am one busy girl. Hopefully over this winter break I will have more time to spend on here and share in detail all of the exciting things that are happening not just in my life but in the science and conservation world (we’re talking evolution/creationism battles, IUCN red list additions, national parks in peril, and maybe even the return of the ‘happy hump day’ weekly post). But I’m heading into finals week and I am seriously behind, the woes of being a professional procrastinator. So.. Hopefully you’ll hang on just a bit longer! Until next time loyal anthrojunkies

Conservation Biology for Days
Conservation Biology for Days

my first ‘real’ job

As my study abroad plans to spend a semester in Costa Rica fell through I had to  begin looking for an apartment back in Dallas. I was not thrilled because, as much as SMU has done for me, for a while it wasn’t my favorite place. I probably shouldn’t have chosen a school known for business and not at all for science, but at the time I was desperate to get away from Florida for a little while. But my plans of transferring were not looking bright and I was hoping to find a ray of sunshine to make my stay in Dallas more appealing. Enter, the Dallas Zoo.

My friends when I spent time in our "base camp" building
My friends when I spent time in our “base camp” building

Continue reading my first ‘real’ job

hi dad, i’m not going to be a doctor anymore…

I actually got an unpaid internship at a zoo! That about sums up the phone call my poor father got after I was accepted into the intern program at the Palm Beach Zoo. I was over the moon and his mild shock couldn’t change it. I think that my parents had known all along that I wouldn’t end up being a doctor. I just couldn’t stay away from those animals! After spending an entire school year choosing to wake up early and shovel tiger crap instead of stay out late at parties I was now choosing to seal my fate in the zoo world.

Serena and Me

Continue reading hi dad, i’m not going to be a doctor anymore…

canine distemper ruins lives

Canine distemper virus, or CDV, is a virus that attacks the digestive system, the respiratory system and degeneration of the nervous system. Though it mostly affects dogs, it can be found in wild animals like raccoons. It is an airborne virus, but is also present in any and every excretion from an infected animal. Recently 22 big cats were diagnosed with CDV at In-Sync Exotics.

Apollo in his tub. He is very sick and lethargic. I saw his two days ago and his eyes we're dull.
Apollo in his tub. He is very sick and lethargic. I saw his two days ago and his eyes we’re dull.

Continue reading canine distemper ruins lives

anth 3302

The second semester of my freshman year of college I was desperate to transfer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the social scene and I would do anything to get out of Texas. I had planned to go abroad for a year to Costa Rica to live at a research station in Monte Verde Cloud Forest. I was leaning away from studying medicine and changing my major to biology and journalism. I wanted to study animals and write about them! What kinds of animals? Well, I just wasn’t so sure yet.

Photo by me of a lemur at the Dallas Zoo I took for my monograph
Photo by me of a lemur at the Dallas Zoo I took for my monograph

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lions and tigers and coatis oh my!

I was sitting in my parents room watching animal planet when I watched a group of volunteers rescue fourteen cougars, five lions and one tiger from a neglectful home in Poetry, Texas. The floors were covered in feces and many of the cats were without water and on the verge of starvation, then these people came in in their lime green shirts and took them and gave them a better home.

Photo by In-Sync Exotics
Photo by In-Sync Exotics

Continue reading lions and tigers and coatis oh my!