Wildlife Vocalization: Erin McCance

McCance holds a moose antler on a bird survey in Riding Mountain National Park. Credit: C-Jae Brieter

Wildlife Vocalizations is a collection of short personal perspectives from people in the field of wildlife sciences.

My advice to my younger self: True to any profession, wildlife biology and management can be incredibly rewarding while also, at times, disheartening and challenging.

Landscapes around us are changing at accelerated rates making the conservation of our natural resources multifarious, yet critically important.

Find your passion. Having passion in your profession makes weathering the storm of challenges that you may face so much easier to bear.

Be humble. Humility opens your mind to life-long learning.

McCance takes vitals on a chemically immobilized, captively-held Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in Forest Lake Minnesota
Credit: Jennifer Rusch

Ecology in and of itself is infinitely complex. Combining ecology with the influence of human values, cultural diversity, and political systems and management for ecological integrity is profoundly variable and challenging.  As such, what we think we know or understand can be wildly different based on location or with passing time.

Strength lies in our humility and our willingness to trying new things, to see through someone else’s purview, and to learn from our neighbors—local and international. Engage. It takes a village!

A headshot of Erin McCance. Credit: Derek Leask

Funding and employment positions allocated to our natural resources are often some of the first to be cut, even though there’s never enough support designated to the management of our natural resources in the first place. Engaging in your professional community beyond your personal employment helps to support essential services and activities and assists with important forward momentum toward our common conservation goals. Personal growth and fulfillment are inevitable with engagement.

Enjoy the journey. Take time to appreciate the beauty of your experiences and opportunities.  Delight in the successes, and be motivated to overcome the disappointments. Appreciate the privilege of learning and personal growth. Be happy!

Learn more about Wildlife Vocalizations, and read other contributions.

Submit your story for Wildlife Vocalizations or nominate your peers and colleagues to encourage them to share their story.

For questions, please contact Jamila Blake.


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