The Peregrine Fund's International Women in Science Week Celebration is in partnership with the Idaho Environmental Education Association (IdEEA).
Hi, I'm Dr. Sarah Schulwitz and I'm the Director of the American Kestrel Partnership at The Peregrine Fund. With collaboration from our community and professional scientists, I'm trying to help solve the mystery of why American Kestrels are declining across North America. I became passionate about biology, and specifically conservation science, after I led nature tours in the Great Smoky Mountains. It was in those eastern forests where I really came to appreciate the rich biodiversity of our planet. It was there, too, that I learned that people could use science to help protect life on Earth.
My favorite raptor is a Red-shouldered hawk; their calls remind me of the eastern forests where I grew up. Though I do love kestrels, tied for second and third are Turkey and Black Vultures - I love seeing them soar and knowing they are integral parts of keeping our human and natural communities healthy.
My advice to all kids, especially those that are thinking about becoming a biologist, is to take time to observe all the critters, plants, and fungi around you, even those just in your backyard or in a potted plant in your house. In doing so, I've found that I've developed deeper appreciation by watching and learning whatever it is that the creatures reveal. By learning more about other organisms, I become even more enamored and more motivated to do what I can to promote a welcoming environment for all creatures on Earth.
To girls, young women, and any woman interested in pursuing careers in science or those already here, I offer my heartfelt support. Being a woman in science at all, and to a greater degree entering into motherhood, offer unique challenges that you may not see faced by your male counterparts. Surround yourself with supportive, kind, and open-minded co-workers and superiors, seek guidance and support from other women that have come before you, and know deep in your heart that you have a special and unique perspective that deserves consideration. And importantly, be your own cheerleader - tell yourself often and with gusto, "You go girl! You've got this!"
Thank you to our Women in Science Celebration collaborators at the Idaho Environmental Education Association! Learn more about how they're inspiring the next generation of conservationists.