For a scientist and mom, successful conservation takes a village


To be clear, I am not an epic mom-scientist doing it all. Most days I feel like I am failing at pretty much every important part of my life. Did I exercise my dog today? No. Could I have responded more productively to Toryn spitting in the house? Yes. When will I actually finish those revisions on the proposal that I wanted to complete three months ago? Who knows. The list goes on. It is very long.

In fact, to make anything happen in my life—work or otherwise—remotely resembling “epic” takes a lot of support, which got me thinking about how this small trip encapsulated the commitment, trust, relationships, and the sheer number of people that are required to make conservation happen. To do this trip totally on my own, pregnant, with a toddler in tow, would’ve been impossible and medically inadvisable. But with Adrian and our connections in Savoonga, the reality was that this trip was relatively easy. I love Savoonga, Adrian loves Savoonga, and she has deep ties with people there from her graduate school days. I know I am safe there. My toddler is safe. If something were to happen, we’d be looked after. This trip was only possible because of a community: a support network that includes a village, colleagues, co-workers, and family members, chipping in in large and small ways so that this weeklong visit to set up ecosystem monitoring in a rapidly changing part of our world could happen.

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