This International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we wanted to introduce you to a few of our Zoo team members and get their insights on their fields. There are so many ways for women and girls to use their science degrees to impact the people and animals around them!
Meet Amy Reaume, our Sustainability Manager! To read more of our Women in Science stories, check out this link.
Education: B.S. in Marine Biology with Aquaculture focus from Florida Institute of Technology
How did you choose your field? I spent elementary school years living in a remote part of northern Idaho where my love of nature began. I’ve spent my whole life interested in wildlife, habitats and science. While most of my career has been in wildlife conservation, I’ve always tried to make sustainable choices and saw over and over again how sustainability is at the source of all wildlife conservation issues. I like to get to the roots of issues which is why I gravitated to sustainability. I also love the human aspect of conservation and finding balance which are all part of what makes up sustainability.
While I initially thought I would be a field researcher, over time and through work experience, I have found my expertise is in planning, partnership-building, and facilitation.
Did or do you have any female mentors or role models in your field? If so, how did they shape your career journey? I have a wonderful mentor, Beth Armstrong. She was the first Conservation Coordinator here at Brevard Zoo and at Columbus Zoo previously. Beth co-founded the Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation (ZACC) Conference. This conference has been a HUGE source of inspiration and reaffirmation throughout my career, and many ideas that have shaped Brevard Zoo’s conservation programs came from conversation with field conservationists at this conference. Beth also brought together a group of young conservationists, myself included, and fostered this group. The group has been such an amazing support system through the challenges of our field, our careers and the huge issues facing the world.
How would you describe your work at the Zoo? There really isn’t a typical day because the tasks vary widely. I spend much of my time in the office answering emails from staff and community members and working on sustainability planning, tracking and reporting, as well as facilitation.
However, I can also often be found working on the Zoo’s compost facility, sorting electronics for recycling, leading Brevard Sustainability Working Group meetings, giving presentations in the community, working the Zoo’s special events to ensure sustainability (ex: sorting waste) and a number of other tasks.
What do you enjoy about your job? I love that my job makes a positive impact on the zoo, on our community and in the world.
What are some challenges about your work? There is SOOO much to do and not enough resources to accomplish it all with the urgency that climate change and the sixth mass extinction of wildlife require. This is not only a challenge here at the Zoo, but a challenge to sustainability globally. Also, much of sustainability work involves human behavior change which is always very challenging. Humans are creatures of habit.
What advice do you have for girls or women who want to work in your field? My advice would be to connect with others who work in or are interested in your desired profession. This could be locally or remotely. Having a group of peers or a mentor is really important for learning and growing your career. Also, take advantage of all opportunities to “get your foot in the door,” even if it’s not exactly what you’d like to be doing in the long run.
Every experience – good or bad – is a learning experience. It’s also a small world and these opportunities are a chance to network. I also think partnership and collaboration are incredibly important. There’s much to be done, and we’ll get it accomplished faster and better by working together.