I’ve always had an interest in wildlife conservation, but since I’ve made it my major that interest has turned into passion and just skyrocketed. I love what I’m learning for the first time in my college career and it makes it that much easier to be involved in classes and outside of school.
This summer I have decided to volunteer in Africa for two weeks to further pursue wildlife conservation! And the more I study, the more I am inspired by the people who have changed the world with regards to wildlife. And by doing that, they’ve changed my life as well. Here are 10 wildlife conservationists that everyone should know about…
1. John Muir
You probably wouldn’t know his name, but you’ll know his saying “The mountains are calling and I must go,”. I live my life based on this quote, it is a part of almost every single thing I do. Moving to Colorado, getting a mountain tattoo, the name of my blog. John Muir is the founder of the Sierra Club, known for his preservation view, and an activist back in his time. He is referred to as the “Father of National Parks” and a major influence in the history of wildlife management.
2. Gifford Pinchot
Pinchot was the 1st Chief of the United States Forest Service, who proposed sustainable use of forests. He is the founder of the Society of American Foresters, known as the father of American conservation, and coined the term “conservation ethic”. Without Pinchot, our forestry history and presence would be very different from what it is today.
3. Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is an incredible, influential woman in my life. She studied the effects of DDT’s misuse on marine environments and is known as a great figure in the environmental era.The impact of her book caused a ban on DDT chemical pesticides in the nation and discusses bioaccumulation and biomagnification, concepts that are still relevant today. She is one of my biggest inspirations, combining a love for writing and wildlife.
4. Aldo Leopold
In 1949, A Sand County Almanac would go onto sell more than 2 million copies. Aldo Leopold is known for his ideas on game management and wilderness systems, even called the father of wildlife ecology. A former forester, writer, and ecologist, Leopold had a strong influence in wildlife history, game management, and the conservation era.
5. Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall has been one of the most inspiring woman to me for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I would read everything I could about her, watch animal shows for hours on end, and now I follow her amazing life thanks to social media. She is known around the world for her in-depth studies on chimpanzees, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, and the Roots and Shoots program. She has won numerous awards including being named a Messenger of the Peace by the United Nations in 2002. She continues her activism, conservation, and work today.
6. Dian Fossey
Gorillas in the Mist, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, was written by this brilliant lady. She was a zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist, who is best known for her work with gorillas. Although her murder may have clouded her studies, she leaves us an important message: “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.”
7. Jacques Cousteau
I love Jacques Cousteau! He is an amazing oceanographer and even had his own T.V. series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. Cousteau helped create the Aqua-lung used in scuba diving among many other talents as a scientist, photographer, and filmmaker. He was a pioneer for marine research and conservation.
8. Henry David Thoreau
HDT is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, American authors. I loved reading Walden and his lifestyle of “living deliberately,”. He was a Transcendentalist, who focused on nature and lived in the woods for two years in search of a simplified life. Although he may not have contributed directly to wildlife conservation, he raised awareness about the value of nature.
9. Ansel Adams
An environmentalist and photographer, Ansel Adams is best known for his photos of Yosemite National Park, which promoted wildlife conservation. He is an iconic representation of using photography to promote conservation in the wilderness and his black-and-white photos are recognized across the globe.
10. My professors
Without the help of my professors, I wouldn’t have been introduced to the history of wildlife conservation, to the values I have, and to the amazing accomplishments of these beautiful people. It was hard at first to realize that being a veterinarian wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore, but now its so easy to be passionate, interested, and longing for more experience in the world of animals, wildlife, and conservation. An adventure awaits me.
I am inspired every day by these amazing wildlife conservationists, and hope to be among them one day (whether my name is known or not). But lets not forget about so many other influential conservationists out there and thank them for the beautiful things they have done for this planet.