What’s your relationship to other animals?

What’s your relationship to other animals? I wasn’t someone who was all that into non-human animals growing up. I didn’t have any dreams of being a vet and I wasn’t crying out for pets. I was pretty busy. School lessons didn’t make it exciting back then. In the Netherlands they were small and safe. In Australia they seemed designed to kill you no matter their size. In America I just never wanted to see a mountain lion, rattle snake, or bear when walking. In Asia my heart broke passing the cruel zoos I would accidentally stumble across. In numerous countries in Africa I was enamoured by them but I also once fell asleep on a game drive. If only I would have known that a little over a decade later a number of those animals would be extinct.

I’m a bit obsessed by them now.

How did my animal feeling change?

1. A mind blowing time with the gorillas in Rwanda. There are not many moments in life that have had such such an impact on me – this is one. I still see their eyes piercing into me in my mind most weeks.

2. Hanging out with toucans and hummingbirds in Belize and starting to hear and spot other birds from the ridiculously passionate staff where I was working. Birders might be some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met.

3. I often put my lens away to actually be in the moment but I also use my lens TO be in the moment. Seeing the world this way has allowed me to get closer to animals (particularly of the smaller kind) and explore my curiosity. It’s amazing to me how long I can sit and watch animals if my camera is hanging around my neck for no other reason then my own satisfaction of capturing a moment that makes me smile.

4. Curiosity. This is the biggest one. Each day at @skwoodlekids I learn something new about an animal and I am stunned. Every day I realize how darn clever they are. How they contribute to the environment. How much we have to learn. Every day I am awed by them. Every single day. That’s a pretty brilliant way to live and I want us all to have 5 minutes a day to make time for that.

Participating in citizen science is also another great way to get interested. What’s your story with other creatures?

– Lis 📷