Big Welcome to Devin Lindsley to our DANTAism crew!
“Many people are divorced from nature, but we can always find our way back.”
-Dr. Jane Goodall
In the 90’s there was this amazing kid’s show called “The Wild Thornberry’s,” where Eliza and her pet chimpanzee traveled the world to talk to animals. Eliza’s ability to connect with exotic animals of all types sparked such a feverish jealousy within my preteen self that I swore to both myself and my parents that one day I would be like her. But as most of you know, with age come the harsh reality of truth. I, unlike my cartoon hero, could not speak to animals. Nor was it legal in California to have a pet chimp. So, instead I found myself delving deep into the world of the biological sciences. Later, I narrowed my focus to the field of Primatology.
In June, 2016 I graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Anthropology. Throughout my career as an undergraduate, I worked with over 7 species of primates. However, the bulk it was spent with Cebus capucinus (white-faced capuchins), Ateles geoffroyi (black-handed spider monkeys), Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaques), and Callicebus cupreus (coppery titi monkeys). Currently, I work at the California National Primate Research Center as a lab assistant in a Behavioral Science Lab.
However, gaining that first primate work experience was something that proved difficult to find. That’s when I attended DANTA’s 2015 Primate Behavior and Conservation course. DANTA gave me the building blocks and confidence to start my career in the field of Primatology. It’s been a whirlwind of a journey ever since I finished the program. Accomplishments have included returning to Costa Rica twice, spending three month in Panama studying new world primates, and now working with a large captive population of rhesus macaques in California.
But even more so, DANTA taught me all about perspective and what it means to live worldly and sustainably. Part of this was learning that as an active consumer, the consequences of my choices are not solely burdened by me. When I get in my car, when I buy mass produced food, or clothing items, when I vote. My actions leave a footprint on this earth that both my generation and future generations to come have to bear.
A huge reason why I’m drawn to the television show, The Wild Thornberry’s, is because Eliza showed a mature connectivity and understanding of the world around her, and in doing so brought herself closer to nature. I believe deeply the farther someone “divorces themselves from nature” the easier it is to ignore the problems that are accruing around them.
DANTA rekindled my understanding of the fragility of nature, and even more so, my duty to protect it. If nothing else, I hope to guide people back to nature and inspire change.