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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Recognizing Women’s Vital Contributions to Wildlife Conservation

Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson continues to inspire.

March is recognized as Women’s History Month, and when it comes to making history in wildlife conservation, women have and will continue to make powerful contributions. This is no surprise. But more just a time to celebrate history, this month can serve as a reminder to girls everywhere that they don't have to merely be spectators in science and conservation. History gives them many mentors. Danielle Brigida, National Social Media Manager, takes a moment to highlight some incredible wildlife women of then and now.

Then: Honoring Historic Wildlife Women

While it’s not possible to list all of the women who have contributed to wildlife conservation throughout the years, a few come immediately to mind. I can honestly say that Rachel Carson is one of the reasons I wanted to work for the Fish and Wildlife Service. She actually started her career here and as the author of Silent Spring (1962) she led the nation to confront the toll of pesticides on the environment (both on people and wildlife alike). Many female conservation heroes aren’t names you hear touted often enough, like these 11 women who helped wilderness or  Mollie Beattie, our first female director, or Elizabeth “Betty” Losey, the first female refuge biologist.

Women across the world are continuing this trend of helping progress the conservation movement. And it is with great admiration we thank these women along with many more who bravely paved the way for future female conservationists.

Now: Organizations Recognizing Current Women Working for Wildlife

Today’s opportunities for women in conservation are no doubt more abundant than in the days of Rachel Carson. We see great education campaigns, like Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and efforts encouraging women to work for science, technology, engineering and math (Women in STEM). However, a recent review of “41 leading environmental or conservation organizations revealed that just seven women serve as CEOs” so as leaders and scientists, we’ve got to continue encouraging the women in this field.

What Women’s History Month reminds us all is that women are making history as we speak. Here are a few campaigns recognizing women who are currently working hard for wildlife.

 Chelsea McKinney
  • More than 200 women who work here answered questions around their work with wildlife, and while their names give you a chance to know them, it’s our hope that the next generation of conservationists will see the many ways that they too can have a career in service to wildlife that makes this effort important. You can read their stories and flip through their photos.  

  • In order to celebrate Women’s History Month, National Wildlife Federation highlighted past conservationists while giving awards to several women helping conservation in politics.

  • Bat Conservation International highlighted women in bat conservation throughout the month by interviewing different ways to work to help bats.

  • The American Museum of Natural History made a series of compelling videos introducing us to female scientists and educators.

  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife highlighted women throughout the month working on wildlife issues in their state.

We are dedicated to and proud of the work we do, and if you get a chance, check out our #ScienceWoman or follow the hashtag on Twitter. Better yet- help foster budding scientists that you know and introduce them however you can to the many career possibilities in wildlife conservation. We’re counting on their help.

-- Danielle Brigida, External Affairs

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