I've been active in promoting wildlife conservation since I was a child. Growing up with Steve Irwin and Jeff Gordon as my idols meant that I was acutely aware of my role (albeit a tiny one) in the environment. My passion for birds blew up when I got to take care of the class parakeet one summer; my parents, who also loved nature, supported my conviction to spread the word about recycling, global warming, overpopulation, and avian behavior. I went through a peregrine falcon phase for a few years and nearly harassed my local wildlife rehabilitator into letting me volunteer (don't worry, they encouraged me to come back on my 16th birthday).
Nearly 20 years later, I play more of a facilitative role for local rescues and non-profits. A lot has changed since 1998, but the girl who fought for the birds is still here.
What started as an extra credit assignment turned into a full-fledged service-learning experience for students in my Biopsychology course at ASU.
"Service-learning is a teaching methodology that enables students to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to meaningful service to the community."
Students completed a two-part project in which they applied their knowledge to the community through acts of service. The project was meant to be simple but powerful. Students volunteered for organizations twice during the semester and followed both experiences with short papers in which they 1) linked biological concepts to their experiences, then B) proposed three physiologically-based ideas to improve them in their own lives.