“I’m going to be studying…”

For as long as I can remember I have loved animals. There are so many beautiful creatures on this earth and even from a young age I knew I wanted to work with them when I grew up. So, when I got to college I started studying some amazing creatures. I learned so much about grizzlies, wolves, elk, and pronghorn and all the challenges they faced. I learned just how much of a negative impact humans are having on these wonderful creatures and my resolve to help them strengthened.

After, a full year of college I thought I had a solid grasp on the key species in most ecosystems and I was ready to get out in the field and put some of my new-found knowledge to the test. So, I began an internship at the Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. I remember hoping I would get to work on the research project focused on bison. I imagined myself in the middle of rolling green prairies observing bison and recording their every movement.

On the first day of the internship, I sat chatting shyly with my fellow interns. There was a hushed anticipation that seemed to hover in the room as we waited for the clock to hit 8:00 am. At the time I was so confident that I would get to work on the bison project but looking back now I know that my hopes were much higher than my actual experience level. I was as green as a tulip stem back then and I had no true idea what a field project would be like. Anyway, the directors for the internship finally arrived and they began announcing the projects to which we would be assigned for the summer. When they announced my project, all I remember thinking was, “I’m going to be studying . . . butterflies?”


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