Conservation Handyman

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Zoo InternQuest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego County high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs, and then blog about their experience online.  Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s website!Marcel InternQuest Picture

My passion for plants and animals began at an early age. When I was in elementary school, I would enjoy going on catch and release ‘bug hunts’ in my yard and at school. I would catch the insects, examine them, and release them in a nearby vicinity to where I had found them. My dogs have also given me a window into the natural world and an appreciation for animals. I have always enjoyed playing with my dogs, especially Freckles and Dingo. I enjoy showing them affection and making them feel like a loved member of my family.

During my second semester of eighth grade, I joined a teen volunteer program at the San Diego Zoo called Zoo Corps. Zoo Corps is a teen volunteer program for students ages 13-17. The purpose of the program is to inform Zoo guests about conservation and to show them that they have the power to make a difference for wildlife with the choices they make in their own lives. The program taught me how to convey conservation messages and how to take steps in my own life to better our environment. Zoo Corps has also taught me how to be a leader and give guests a positive message, such as how to help wildlife by using reusable grocery bags or recycling old cell phones. I am proud to say that I am still a member of the Zoo Corps program and equally proud to say that I still have a lot to learn.

Helping animals has always been my calling. The best way I figured I could do that locally was by volunteering at the SPCA where I became a dog buddy in November of 2012. As a dog buddy, I go into the dogs’ rooms at the SPCA animal shelter and give them much needed companionship and help them with their training. The purpose of their training is to keep them calm and happy in an otherwise potentially stressful environment and involves rewarding them for calm and positive behavior. Apart from the training and companionship that being a dog buddy entails, I also bring fresh water and clean the rooms when the need arises. All in all I would have to say my favorite part (and the dogs’ favorite part as well) is providing companionship that makes them feel loved.

I also have a few personal hobbies. I enjoy mountain biking on local trails, as well as going for runs with friends around my neighborhood. I like to spend time with friends and occasionally play video games. I also enjoy taking my dog to a nearby park with my dad. I have been a part of my school’s track and cross-country teams since I was a freshman in high school. I plan on doing both sports again next year as a senior. I have been involved in my school’s environmental awareness club, ‘Club Green’, since sophomore year. I have been a vegetarian for over a year and a half and find it relaxing to tend to the vegetable garden in my backyard. I have also been involved in three habitat restoration projects at the Safari Park for the endangered cactus wren through Zoo Corps.

I look forward to being in InternQuest and sharing my wonderful experiences with the public!

Winter Session 2013