As the summer kicks off, Safari West Wildlife Foundation bids farewell to our fantastic Junior Keeper Coordinator, Aidan Carpenter, as he embarks on a journey to Australia to pursue his master’s degree. To Aidan, we say “chookas,” the Australian way of wishing someone good luck in their future endeavors.
While we say goodbye to Aidan, we warmly welcome our new Junior Keeper Coordinator, Nicole Pedrotti-Stie. Nicole, who previously worked as a Safari West guide, brings a strong passion for education and public speaking to her new role. We had the opportunity to sit down with Nicole and discuss her aspirations and what she intends to bring to the program.
Q: What is your name, where are you from, and how long have you been at Safari West?
A: My name is Nicole Pedrotti-Stie, and I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. I joined Safari West as a tour guide in March 2022
Q: What drew you to the Junior Keeper program, and what educational approach and activities are you implementing this year?
A: The enthusiasm and passion displayed by the Junior Keepers during previous events filled me with joy. Even before the position was available, I found myself sharing details about the program with the younger guests on my tours. I have a background in working with children at most of my previous jobs, so when I saw the posting I knew I had to apply. I am a very hands-on learner, so the approach I take with the Junior Keepers is similar. We talk about the topic, I try to make it more of a conversation, less of a lecture, creating a more interactive and immersive learning experience.
Q: You’ve been working with the kids for a few months now. Do you have any favorite moments thus far?
A: I absolutely love witnessing the Junior Keepers engaging with new people at our events, whether it’s sharing information about our bone collection at the tables, exploring various booths to learn more about conservation, or experiencing the thrill of holding a snake for the first time
Q: What if you had to describe the Junior Keeper program to someone and explain why their child should join, what would you say?
A: The Junior Keeper program is an amazing opportunity to broaden your children’s knowledge about conservation and animal husbandry, while working hands-on with extraordinary animals. It serves as an excellent steppingstone for those pursuing a career in this field. We are trying to create a future of progress for animals and the environment. I always say, “The first step in conservation is education.”
The Safari West Wildlife Foundation is thrilled to welcome Nicole to our team, and we eagerly anticipate the exciting learning experiences in store for our Junior Keepers this year.