For centuries, we have relied upon the Missouri River; its water and its life for survival, and recent decades have seen its ecology drastically change due the influences of human development. Natural functions such as seasonal flooding have been mitigated by dams and channelization, enabling introduced species to take hold in this changed environment.
Join presenter Alex Wiles, a conservation photographer, presenter, and environmental educator as he shares his important work during "Flood Plain: A Clear View of Life in the Big Muddy" on April 8th at 7:00 p.m. This free event is open to participants age 12 and over and will be held in Meeting Room B at the Council Bluffs Public Library.
Staff was able to sit down with Alex & get a few details on his work & career. Take a minute to get to know him!
What inspired you to enter into this field?
- I've always loved wildlife and photography/filmmaking, but the key point that brought them together was during a study abroad trip to Galapagos. I was a zookeeper for almost ten years before transitioning into the field of conservation multimedia, and seeing the results of conservation efforts first hand made me want to share these stories with a broader audience. There are limitless stories to tell in limitless ways, so there's no excuse to feel uninspired for long.
What is your favorite part of your work?
- I love that my work can take me to new places and new experiences on a regular basis. I've made lasting friendships with people all around the world who I may have never met if it weren't for the work that brought us together.
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the field of Education with a Conservation or wildlife focus?
- Make as many meaningful connections as you can! While most people love animals and the outdoors, working collaboratively with people and maintaining good professional relationships will help open doors for your career. Ultimately, engaging with people and changing perspectives of those who might not be aware of things is what will have the most lasting positive impact in conservation.
What is one piece of knowledge you would like everyone you interact with to know?
- Most people are just doing their best and hoping that it's enough. As soon as you realize this, a lot of challenges seem much less intimidating and people are easier to relate with. In the field of conservation, empathy is the key to progress.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your work?
- You have to learn to find humor in the unavoidable curveballs that life throws at you - whether it's travel misadventures, getting random exotic diseases, having the weather thwart your well-crafted plans, or any other mishap. Usually there are great stories to be told from these unforeseen roadblocks, so ride the wave and remember the good parts.
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