Mady Pashibin, a third year Biology major, spent her summer with Australian Kangaroos. With a strong interest in environmental biodiversity, Mady decided to carry out her service-learning through the Minnesota Zoo.
Upon being assigned to the brand new Australian exhibit, Mady was responsible for educating visitors on animals and biodiversity, “I used different artifacts to teach people about the animals in the exhibit, and also incorporated why conservation of biodiversity is important not only to animals and our environment, but also to people.”
Not only was Mady able to spend her summer immersed in a topic she loves, but she was able to serve her community while doing so. When asked how her service-learning project has impacted her community, Mady explained, “many people are unaware of the consequences a loss of biodiversity can have on our environment and on people, and how they can contribute to the loss we are seeing in the world today. This lack of education is an issue in many different communities.”
Mady was able to serve her community by working directly with the Minnesota community, conversing with and educating hundreds of visitors each day. Although she was able to reach a wide variety of people from all walks of life, she felt most honored while working with the children. “My favorite part was seeing how enthusiastic some of the children that came through the exhibit were. They were so excited to learn about the animals, especially the kangaroos and emus in my exhibit. They were also eager to learn about conservation,” Mady explained.
By the end of the summer with the Minnesota Zoo, Mady had learned just as much about herself as she did about conservation. “[I wanted to] deepen my understanding of why conservation is important, as well as learn about why this information is needed in the community. I hoped to become comfortable speaking about conservation and teaching others, because that is something that I have struggled with in the past. I also wanted to improve my public speaking skills, which will help me in any career that I decide to pursue.”