From Wildlife Biologist to Clairemont Science Teacher

Jake Reedholm, Staff writer

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Amy Clark, CHS science teacher, is a lot more qualified for her job than you may think. Clark, along with her husband, was once a wildlife biologist.  Clark loved her job and thought it was incredibly fun. So why did she give it up to become a teacher?

 

In short, she was dissatisfied in the field and she had family obligations that were more easily met as a teacher.

 

From observing beautiful birds and butterflies in the air and magnificent animals and plants on the earth, Clark had many wonderful adventures in her field.

 

Clark graduated from Arizona State in Wildlife Conservation Biology.  Before getting into wildlife biology, however, Clark spent some time in unsatisfying jobs in  retail and working at restaurants; for example The Gap and Red Robin. So when she got her first job as a biologist out of college — she was elated.

 

Initially, Clark had several wildlife biology related jobs. These included stints with the San Diego Naval Base Management, work with SDGE, and Reptile Surveys on Fort Irwin National Training Center in San Bernardino.  Clark said the best site she worked at was the “Newport Road Extension,” located in Riverside County. Clark was studying the area to make sure it was safe to extend the road.  Clark says, “I saw the best species diversity.”  She marveled at everything from Painted Lady Butterflies to California Thrashers, a rare bird. Overall the space was “just beautiful,” she said.

 

Some may wonder why Clark went into the teaching field if her job was so fun and she loved the wildlife so much?  While the species and spaces she got to see were enthralling, she said it became “heartbreaking” because every site that she would be called onto would eventually be destroyed.  For example, the Newport Road Extension ended up getting built and it destroyed the animal habitat.  It became “too much” for her to handle.

 

Clark also says family demands intervened, “Once we had kids, it was too difficult to get them to daycare in time for both my husband and I to start 5am surveys. Plus, I was worn down by the knowledge that all the sites I surveyed, all the beautiful open spaces and wildlife, were going to be destroyed by some development.”

 

Clark is very experienced in this field and she uses this knowledge very well in her teaching career.  She is able to devise much better projects and assignments by being so involved in the area. She is very good at explaining her work so that all the students can understand.

 

“Ms. Clark is one of my favorite teachers,” said Daniel Sabin.  “She is very smart and sarcastic. She always seems like she knows what she’s doing.”

 

While being a Wildlife Biologist is a cool career, but it can be a hard one to sustain.

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