Wildlife Vocalizations: Auriel M.V. Fournier

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

Headshot of me taken in Biloxi, MS Credit: Dr. Auriel M.V. Fournier

I would like to see us critically think about the lessons we take from those that taught us, before we pass them on to those we teach. Our field has ingrained many lessons that make our science worse, and that hurt our colleagues, and only with conscious evaluation of the choices we make and lessons we teach, can we improve things. For example, we should value every person in our field’s labor, from the intern, to the social scientist, to the environmental educator to the state game biologist. All of these people make important contributions every day to our field.  Our field is more diverse than it was decades ago, and our fellow wildlifers are more likely to have student loan debt, to be supporting a family member financially, to have dependents, etc. As a result, if we want to be a field that all can enter, we need to pay everyone, starting with our interns and technicians, not just in experience, but in money. That way not only those who either put themselves further into debt, or have outside sources of funding, can take these positions, a group which is white, maler, straighter and more able bodied, which then limits the diversity of our future field.

Me seeing and holding a Black Rail for the first time. Cameron Parish, LA, November 2018. Bird captured and handled under appropriate state and federal permits, as a part of a project run by Audubon Louisiana. Credit: Justin Lehman

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Header Image: Justin Lehman and myself catching rails at Duck Creek Conservation Area, Missouri, as a part of my PhD field work. Credit: Nappadol Paothong