Blog by MBP Volunteer, Annie
On the way out of Seattle
In the whirl wind of packing, repacking, and making last minute purchases (I have been to the same outdoor store three times in the same week), I feel that I am finally ready to leave the Pacific Northwest, once again, to discover yet another amazing and unique part of the world.
After working for the Department of Parks and Wildlife in Western Australia, and spending 4 months in the stunning Kimberley scenery (think the movie Australia but without the star-power of Hugh Jackman) trapping odd and adorable marsupials, I stopped for an additional holiday in New Zealand. I didn’t make it back in time to take the entrance exams and research professors and schools.
Feeling at a loss for how I could best gain new experiences and make a decision about future career goals, I lit upon this Madagascar lemur-monitoring project, which would complete my third link in the chain of amazing places I have been dreaming about since forever! I am so excited to be following and observing the unique lemurs, especially after my primate biology class in high school where we studied all primate families (although I believe we did a condensed study of the lemurs, since there were so many different ones). I am particularly thrilled to be studying lemurs in a behavioral ecology context, since behavior studies have always appealed to me but I haven’t had much chance to focus on them in any real capacity (I followed butterflies for a month, but I suspect that the lemurs will have a slightly more complex societal structure).
As for the old graduate school question, I am really hoping this project will help me gain a better idea of what type of research I would like to focus on, be it mammal trapping, tropical ecology, or behavioral studies, now that I would have experience in all three. I am also really interested in the community involvement aspect of the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and the research station as I also have an education background and am always looking for ingenious ways to better communicate ecological topics and inspire conservation action.
If it wasn’t already apparent by this point in the entry, I love to talk and to write, so I am looking forward to updating this blog with whatever amazing experiences are sure to follow in the coming 6 months!