I am an optimist and a believer in human potential, especially the promise of gifted young people.” ~ George Archibald, Co-founder
In 2009 a young South African, Steven Segang, traveled outside his country for the first time to work with the International Crane Foundation’s Conservation Education Department at our headquarters in Wisconsin. Throughout the summer Steven was immersed in training to develop his education and public speaking skills while sharing his unique perspective and knowledge from South Africa with our visitors. Steven is now a successful Highveld Field Officer in South Africa, with our partner, the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
An important part of our mission is to identify and train leaders among a broad spectrum of people, from promising young scientists and conservationists to the land owners and decision makers who influence crane survival in key places. Steven is one of these Conservation Leaders. Below are some of his remembrances from his immersion experience at our headquarters:
I still remember it like it was yesterday when Kerryn Morrison, Africa Programs Manager, approached me and told me about the opportunity to go to the International Crane Foundation. It was so overwhelming and yet a scary thought that came to my mind, as I had never traveled abroad, never mind flying. It was not an easy decision to make, as I had to leave my parents, my girlfriend and four-year-old daughter. But I had to convince myself that opportunities like this never come often. However, what made it easy was that I was engaged in crane awareness programs. The love of cranes prevailed, along with curiosity to learn about all the crane species and meet new people.
I met very incredible people at the International Crane Foundation and made friends as well. I mostly enjoyed interacting with groups during my tours and had time to review and learn how the education department communicates the message of environmental learning. I also worked with the field ecologists. I am most certainly humbled to have a chance like this, which is so fitting to my role now in South Africa working with communities. Visiting the International Crane Foundation in 2009 was the step I needed to build and enhance my conservation career. I will always be grateful.
Click here to read Steven’s summary on the 2017 Chrissismier Crane Festival in South Africa.