Jeff Corwin, TV personality and conservationist, addressed the student body about protecting the environment during the September Convocation.
“The reason why I came to this school is I feel it’s incredibly important to connect with the public, especially with the up and coming generation of folks who’ll be managing all the challenges these days with our environment,” Corwin said.
During Convocation, Corwin told stories to students about his experiences travelling around the world. He spoke about how he got started as a naturalist, observing a snake, which a neighbor killed two years later.
Corwin was 8 years old, and he said that the experience turned him into a conservationist. He said that small actions can make a difference.
“The day you recognize that you have a ripple effect, and the waves you create are significant, is the day that we see positive change,” Corwin said. “Ultimately, if we don’t make these changes, really, we only punish ourselves because, the world we have today, we don’t inherit from our ancestors, we borrow from our children.”
Later in the day, Corwin hosted another presentation where live animals were brought onto stage, including an alligator, snapping turtle and two red foxes.
A camera showed a close-up of the animals as Corwin pointed out unique features and described their place in the wild.
Other animals got closer to students. One of the foxes was brought into the audience where audience members could see the animals up close, and others were brought up on stage.
In recent days, Corwin has been involved more with life in the ocean rather than life on land. Corwin said that he considers the ocean to be one of the last great “frontiers” for exploration.
When told about the possibility of FSC offering a marine biology major, Corwin thought the idea was “great.”
“We look to the oceans for food, we look to the oceans for habitats, we look to the oceans for oxygen and resources, and we need to take care of our oceans,” Corwin said.
However, Corwin said that students preparing for careers in studying the environment were not the only ones who should study the environment.
“I would encourage anyone, no matter what you’re majoring at this college, to take courses in environmental studies, biology, conservation,” Corwin said. “That information only makes you stronger, only empowers you more.”
Corwin later said that age was not important when it came to making a difference in the environment, and that anyone can make a difference.
“Many of the global movements that have changed the face of conservation, for example the rainforest movement, that helped to salvage rainforest, billions of acres around the world, began as a college movement,” Corwin said. “I was a part of that movement: I created a foundation in the 1980’s.”
Corwin said that college students in particular had great potential for change in the world.
“I think as a college student, you’re incredibly powerful. You have this sense of energy and a sense of future, and the positivity to believe things can happen,” Corwin said. “You have your whole life ahead of you to make it happen, and you’re at the most important part of your life where you’re crafting the skill sets you’ll need to make a difference.”
Photo by Danielle Burch