In October 2011 I was fortunate to meet primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco. The conference aims to bring more awareness to conservation efforts around the world and I was running a SAVE THE FROGS! informational table. Dr. Goodall was the keynote speaker.
There were many talks about larger, more charismatic species (e.g. Ethiopian wolves, marine mammals, apes) but Save The Frogs! was able bring awareness to the conference attendees about the many threats facing amphibian populations and how amphibians, just like wolves, whales, and pandas, need more conservation efforts around the world. It was an incredible experience to be among such great conservationists from around the world and we were able to meet so many other inspirational and interesting individuals.
During the conference, I had a young boy (perhaps 5 or 6) come up to my table with his mother and sister. He explained to me how much he loved his pet frog and wanted all the frogs to be saved. He then left, but soon returned to my table because he wanted to give me a photo of his pet frog. He wanted me to have it so that I would remember him, and his frog. I reassured him that I would and that I would hold his photo close to my heart. He even wanted to take a photo with me (and of course, a photo was taken). Later in the day, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Dr. Jane Goodall. I told her about this experience with the boy and asked her to sign the back of that photo. You see, as I get older and continue my work as an ecologist, activist, conservationist, whatever you want to call what I am… I have noticed that people have started to look up TO ME… Simply, I want to remain humble, and let them know how when I was young… I looked up to her. Teary-eyed, I thanked her for everything.
(Image courtesy of my dear friend, Tyler Shaw, of Sharpmind Photography)