Over the summer I worked over a period of three days with the Alaskan Conservation Center. The Alaska Conservation Center takes in animals that have either been injured or “socialized.” A socialized animal is one that has become dependent on eating human food / trash, which poses a danger for both the animal and the human. They are taken in to the Conservation Center and given a place to live a consistent healthy life style free of danger. They house a plethora of different animals ranging from lynx to the famous alaskan grizzly bear. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, depending on how you think about it, my work there did not allow me to feed the grizzly bear. I cleaned the pens and the center as well as fed the herbivores which resided there. I helped feed moose, musk ox, an eagle, deer and elk. Although the work was difficult and tedious it was amazing to be able to work with the animals directly.
This experience as a whole reiterated my love for nature. Prior to visiting the conservation center I spent 5 days backpacking throughout the Chugach Mountain Range. The combination of a 5 day backpacking trip and these two days at the Conservation Center forced me to reconsider my view about nature and where I would like to live for the rest of my life. Before visiting Alaska I had wanted to live in a city, surrounded by tall buildings and endless complexity. Giving my time to these animals, surrounded by this beautiful landscape made me realize how over complicated city life truly is. I felt as though I could spend the rest of my life there, surrounded by the incredible mountain range. Helping the animals made me realize that nature is so intrinsically harmonious, and that it was this harmony that could bring me happiness. This service experience helped me realize that I don’t want to live in the city for all my life, that perhaps, living out in the wild would bring me to a level of happiness that I simply could not attain in the strict confines of the city.