Aldo Leopold once wrote, “There are some who can live without the wild things and some who cannot.” Had you asked me ten years ago where I fell among those two categories, I would have said the first. As a child, I was not passionate about nature. My parents never took me camping, I never explored public lands, and, before college, I had never visited a forest in my life.
Now, I cannot imagine my life without the wild. Having earned my Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, the wild is what I yearn for. I strive to protect and conserve it in every aspect of my life so that I may continue to enjoy it and help preserve it for those that will come after me. It was in college where I found this passion and came across like-minded people that allowed me to learn more about nature and how to explore it. I volunteered doing everything I could: whether it was a trash pick-up day at Lake Tahoe, or a field outing at Modoc National Forest.
After college, I knew that my true passion was to continue to grow as a wildlife professional and to help spread my love of nature to others. I am thankful everyday for the opportunities that being a Resource Assistant at the US Forest Service has brought me.
As a Wildlife Resource Assistant, I’ve worked on many different projects. I have been able to serve as a community outreach spokesperson, a wildlife technician, and a variety of other roles. I’ve helped put together presentations, program bat acoustic monitors, survey for Mexican spotted owls, teach kids about the environment, and more. I’ve shared with those around me stories of my culture and how it pertains to nature, I’ve spoken to people about the relevance of public lands, and I’ve had opportunities to work outside the world of wildlife and gain insight on other departments within the Forest Service. As I look toward the future, I hope that I may continue to grow in my fellowship and I look forward to all the adventures to come.
By Esmeralda Aguilar, intern, Lincoln National Forest