Pottawattamie Conservation is excited to announce another terrific season of Speaker Series events kicks off this November. This year's events held in partnership with the Council Bluffs Public Library & supported by a grant from Humanities Iowa, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will cover a range of topics & feature some great presenters in the fields of conservation & environmental science.
Our first program is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 12th & will be held in meeting room B at the Council Bluffs Public Library located at 400 Willow Avenue in Council Bluffs. This event is open to participants age 14 & over & is presented free of charge. Due to COVID-19 concerns online pre-registration is required to attend, participants must sign a waiver upon arrival, & masks must be worn for the duration of the program.
Our first speaker is Lauren Darnold, Education & Public Outreach Coordinator with Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, who will explore Bats of Iowa! Join Lauren as she Lauren explains bat adaptations, their importance in our ecosystem, & shares her knowledge about bat species from around the world. Get to know our November speaker & get ready to meet her on November 12th!
Lauren has been an educator in Nebraska Wildlife Rehab’s after-school programming through Collective for Youth for several years before joining the staff full time as the Education & Public Outreach Coordinator. Lauren is from Waverly, IA and holds a degree in Animal Science from Iowa State University. She has previously worked with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Wildlife Care Clinic of Ames, Girl Scouts of Iowa and Utah, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Her goal is to generate passion and respect, across all demographics, for wild animals by creating personal experiences and bonds between people and our natural world.
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field of Education with a Conservation or wildlife focus?
Try a little bit of everything! Intern or volunteer in several different positions because there are so many opportunities out there! Before my career I worked with many companies from non-profits to national organizations in every aspect from zoo animal husbandry to teaching scouts outdoor skills in the mountains of Utah!
What is your favorite part of your work?
I love that I get to share my passions with others and when I can see the exact moment in someone's face that it has become one of their passions too!
What is one piece of knowledge you would like everyone you interact with to know?
Education is a continual process. You are never finished learning! Every person you speak to could tell you something new and vice versa.
What inspired you to enter into this field?
The amount of misinformation, prejudice and stigma out there in the wildlife world never ceases to amaze me. Bugs are not creepy, snakes are not sinister and bats are not trying to get caught in your hair! Every species has a purpose and the world would suffer the loss without them.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your work?
Not only is my job to teach, but to listen. You have to have a great amount of empathy as an educator and often my job is listening to others stories and anecdotes just as much as giving a lecture! Connecting to other people with compassion will always be more successful than just talking at them!
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