October 13, 2022
Time Well Spent
- as seen by -Lisa Marie Avendaño
Growing up in Houston, I visited my local zoo as often as my parents were willing to take me. I was fascinated by every animal I saw, particularly the giant tortoises. Their size amazed me, and I loved to watch the large reptiles’ slow and deliberate movements.
As a child, it was hard to grasp the longevity of a species that could potentially live to be 100 to 200 years old. The youngest giant tortoises I saw in those days may still only be halfway through their journeys, with my life coming and going in the span of theirs. What a reminder to make the most of our precious time on Earth.
Now, well into my third decade as a zoo and aquarium professional, I can see how clearly those early zoo encounters with animals and nature influenced my chosen path. The arc of my career, with so many rich and diverse experiences (above, with an Aldabra tortoise), has taken me from apprentice keeper to the Deputy Director of the Bronx Zoo at the Wildlife Conservation Society where I help connect people to animals inspiring them to save wildlife and wild places.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Wild View is featuring posts on their contributions that continue to enrich science and conservation.