By | Ali Osgood
Super-star naturalist Jeff Corwin walked out onto the stage at HSU’s Van Duzer Theatre to a cheering and excited crowd. Immediately, the child in me bubbled over and I was thrown back to my younger years when the world was for exploring and Jeff Corwin was showing me how. This particular evening would be very similar, only my childhood hero would be talking less about exotic animals and instead be tackling climate change.
Corwin visited HSU this past Saturday as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series: Tales From the Field. He is an emmy award winning television host and wildlife biologist who has been on the Discovery Channel, CNN, Disney Channel, NBC, Animal Planet, and even the Food Network. Currently he is the host of the television show “Ocean Treks”, but he is best known for his show in the early 2000s, “The Jeff Corwin Experience”.
I grew up watching Corwin travel the world talking about wild animals and nature. I have looked to him for guidance as an adult conservationist, and he has inspired my wonder for the natural world. I had been looking forward to seeing him in person for the first time in my life, and anticipated he would give the crowd something to walk away with.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,” Corwin said. “We borrow it from our children.”
Corwin spent over three hours talking and answering questions about his career and his concerns on climate change. He reminded the audience of the dangers it poses to our planet. But unlike so many climate change talks I have witnessed, Corwin had a sense of optimism despite the alarming figures he shared.
He used multiple examples of endangered species to move through his points. He profiled species that were on the brink of extinction that recovered because of the efforts of humans. Corwin seems to believe that with the right amount of passion and scientific approach that humankind can slow climate change and save wildlife.
“We can do amazing things,” Corwin said. “I don’t think conservation is about politics. You can look at incredible conservation stories, successful and disastrous, that happened from both [political parties].”
Throughout the evening Corwin took the audience through his life as a television host. I have always loved the energy and sense of humor Corwin has brought to his adventures, and to hear about what was going on behind the scenes was very special.
The charismatic television host spoke for about an hour before taking questions from the audience. As the night pressed on, he continued taking questions until he had answered every last one, over 25 personal questions. Corwin did an excellent job combining inside facts about his life while inspiring his audience to continue defending the environment.
“The best thing you can do is begin in your community,” Corwin said. “Find some level of passion in whatever you do.”