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Chat With Jeff Corwin
On The Jason Project V
Expedition To Belize

Transcripts from Chat

Jeffrey Corwin
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Link To Past Jason Expeditions

JASON Project Expedition Naturalist (Rain forest)

Anthropologist and Biologist at The Emerald Canopy Rain forest Foundation Bridgewater, Massachusetts

1. Area of Expertise: Rain forest fauna and conservation.

2. Education and Professional Training: I received my B.A. from Bridgewater State College were I majored in both Anthropology and Biology. I was certified as an advanced field medical specialist from The Academy of Health and Science, the US Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. I have spent more than three years living in the rain forests of Central America studying and observing the many marvelous life forms living in them.

3. Mission on the JASON Project: My mission on the JASON Project is to present live rain forest animals, during the broadcast, to the students watching from the Primary Interactive Network Sites (PINS). I will discuss the relationships between the animals and their environment. My favorite animals are amphibians and reptiles. Unfortunately people often find these animals not pleasing to look at or are afraid of them. I hope to encourage these people to recognize that these creatures and others are significant members of the habitat they live in.

4. How much time have you spent in rain forests? I am 26 years old and first started going to the rain forests when I was 16. I have had the fortunate opportunity to live in and to study rain forests in Belize, Guatemala,
(This Interview took Place in February 1994)

5. What made you decide to be a scientist? I always loved creepy crawly things like spiders and snakes and I could never understand why people didn't like them. While growing up in New England, my bedroom was filled with aquariums containing many different creatures. I loved learning about them and teaching people about their importance. When I was 16, I was invited by a group of scientists to assist in conducting a survey on amphibians and reptiles living in the rain forests of Belize. I was hooked immediately when I first stepped into the rain forest. Ever since that day over ten years ago, I have always wanted to be a rain forest biologist.

6. Did you take a lot of science classes in high school? I have to confess, I was not a very good student when I was in high school but rather thought that nature was the best classroom. When I reached college I soon realized that I needed to take courses that I wouldn't normally have to gain a better understanding in the subjects that did interest me. I became a good student and took many biology and anthropology courses.

7. When you were growing up, who were your heroes? My main heroes were David Attenborough and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

8. Why do you think people should study science? I think science is important because it helps us learn more about the world in which we live. It eliminates ignorance and allows us to realize how important and fragile the earth is.

9. Why are you involved with the JASON Project? My first exposure to rain forests was in Blue Creek Preserve when I was sixteen years old and this experience has greatly contributed to the person that I am today. The JASON Project provides me with the opportunity to share with students my experiences and knowledge of the biology of rain forests.

10. If you weren't in your profession, what would you be? I guess if I was not a biologist I would probably be a starving "wanna be" actor in either California or New York.

11. Do you think your job is fun? And why? I love my job! So many people tell me how they are not happy with their occupations. I often say to myself, "Count your blessings because you found your niche". I love everything about rain forests, I like learning from the people who live in them, the animals and plants found there and I love the heat and the rain! The only thing that I don't like is being sick in the rain forest.

12. If a student wants someday to do what you do, what can he or she do to prepare? The key to your success is a yearning to learn. Don't ever be afraid to be wrong or to make a mistake as long as you can learn from it. Always remember to believe in yourself- you can be anything you wish to be as long as you set your mind to it.

13. If you had one message for students, what would it be? Follow your dreams, even if others think your aspirations are silly or that you are not able to do it. If there is something that you do not understand strive to learn about it instead of blowing it off. Do not follow your peers but rather be the leader!


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