Conservation Biology Institute
Bridging conservation science and practice
February 20, 2013

Lessons in Conservation

Eleven months ago, I joined the Conservation Biology team as an Administrative Assistant with very little knowledge of what the word “conservation” actually meant.  I had never even had a discussion with anyone with the scientific background that the team at CBI possesses.  My understanding of conservation, climate change and the impact that some of our daily activities have on the environment was limited to what I learned in grade school, read on Yahoo news, or a discussion with my coworkers or friends - none of whom were immensely involved or engrossed in the vast amount of knowledge about the world around us. 

Over the past year, my knowledge, understanding and outlook on conservation, science and the people who work so hard to educate all of us about this planet we call home has evolved. I had the pleasure of attending many staff meetings where my co-workers share presentations on their research, pictures of their recent travels, or familiarize us with the projects they were currently working on. I quickly learned the extent of how deficient my conservation knowledge truly was.  I remember going home one day and saying to my husband “do you know that forest fires are sometimes necessary in order for certain types of trees to grow?” 

For my entire life growing up the only thing I knew about forest fires was what I learned from Smokey the Bear; so I was amazed to find out that forest fires are actually necessary for some trees.   I have been enlightened by how many creatures on this planet are close to being extinct and the fact that there are changes we could make to prevent that from happening.   Our forests, the trees, soil, weather and a multitude of other climate related factors have a story to tell about where we have been and where we are going.  There is a lot of time and effort put forth, not only doing the research and discoveries, but on how to tell the story so that the average person who isn't a scientist can understand and appreciate the information.

I now have a much clearer understanding, not only of conservation and science, but of the people who are passionate about our world.  I have had the good fortune to be a part of an organization that helped open my eyes to the true meaning of outdoors.  The universe is full of amazing and wonderful life and we are blessed to have individuals like those at CBI that spend their days learning how to protect and preserve our environment. 

My experience at CBI has resulted in new friends, new knowledge and a better understanding of the effort and resources it takes in order to provide the data we need to protect our world.  In the future I will pay a little more attention to the information being shared as there is a lot to be learned, donate a little more money to causes and people that do the research because they work hard finding funds to do what they do best and be a little more mindful of the small changes I can make in order to make my own difference. 

About the author:
Mindy Boyd
Mindy Boyd is an Administrative Assistant at Conservation Biology Institute, where she provides technical and non-technical support to the organization at large.
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