Wildlife Vocalizations: Emily Chavez

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

It is going to be uncomfortable to step into the void, to set a new standard for yourself and those to come. You may find yourself struggling to float in this uncharted ocean. You may call for help and find radio silence on the other side. Those that you once called on can no longer relate to your new journey.

You may want to cut yourself short, take the easy path that lays in front of you, even if that is not the trail you want blaze. You may self-sabotage, just to avoid external failure. Breathe. You are just as capable as the person sitting next to you. You may not know it now, but soon you realize that the person in your class or on your field crew with their comfortable sense of belonging is not brighter than you. In fact, their entitlement clouds their judgment.

So, do it now. Take those hard classes that intimidate you. Take the risk that scares you and your loved ones. Use your voice. Ask your questions and share your ideas. You may come off too strong for others, too loud, too direct. But your life is not meant to be lived for their approval. Throw caution to the wind and allow your gut to guide you.

Emily Chavez takes time to birdwatch in Costa Rica. Credit: Emily Chavez

Be kind, but don’t spend too much time fretting over who you may disappoint, whose life you need to attend to. Live for yourself, for your dreams and for your own happiness. Because it will go fast. Really fast. You do not want to wake up one morning and find that you have cheated yourself. That you allowed other to guide you onto a trail you never wished to be on. That you let others define your worth.

That is not you. You are sure footed. You are caring, curious and thoughtful. And you are scared to the core. And that is okay. You have already found yourself here. You have already hurdled over every other obstacle to be here. And you will never stumble over mountains, only pebbles.

Learn more about Wildlife Vocalizations, and read other contributions.

Submit your story for Wildlife Vocalizations or share the submission form with your peers and colleagues to encourage them to share their story.

For questions, please contact Jamila Blake.


Header Image: Emily Chavez is accompanied by her sidekick Winston at a climbing area called the Promised Land in Colorado’s San Luis Valley in May 2020. She was conducting a case study on climbing disturbance on a pair of nesting red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). Credit: George Schuhmacher