November 28, 2016
Becoming Jane Goodall
- as seen by -Natalie Ingle
When I was a kid, I wanted to be Jane Goodall. People were always suggesting I should become a vet or a zoo keeper. It was obvious I was passionate about animals.
But when I declared Zoology as my major in college, I balked at the Chemistry and Statistics requirements – subjects I’d survived well enough in high school, thank you very much – but didn’t want to experience again. So I did what any self-respecting college student would do and changed my major to Creative Writing.
Fast forward through a couple of poetry awards, a grad certificate in Nonprofit Management, an MA in Philanthropic Studies, a few jobs, a lot of volunteering, and some self-guided travel in Africa (above, vervet monkeys seen on safari in Tanzania).
Now my office is literally in the Bronx Zoo, and working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, I get to focus on animals every day of the week. I may not be a scientist, but I work side-by-side with some of the world’s best – folks who have literally “written the book” on wildlife conservation. My own unique skill set helps them attract and manage the funding needed to operate their programs, recruit and maintain dedicated field teams, coordinate the expertise of dozens of global specialists, and tell their inspirational stories to international audiences. I’m helping to save wildlife in my own way and having some great adventures along the way.
Recently, when I told a kindergarten class about my job, one student went home and told her family she’d just met Jane Goodall.
Who says dreams can’t come true?