Lonely Conservationists

Gabrielle (My father would be proud)

Written by Gabrielle DiVello

My name is Gabrielle DiVello. I am 23 years old and I was born and raised in Southern New Jersey surrounded by the beaches, mountains, and the city -which is why New Jersey is called the “Armpit State.” My family has owned a vacation house in Maine, outside of Bar Harbour on a beautiful lake for about 16 years. I was always surrounded by nature and wildlife and through the years I truly learned to have a strong passion and appreciation for wildlife. I pretty much grew up in Maine as well since we would go several times out of the year there and still do to this day. We moved to Maine 8 years ago and lived there for almost a year until my father passed away there in a snowmobile accident. My father was my best friend. He was also the one who taught me my love for animals. Growing up, he would take us to wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, and anywhere we could find animals. He absolutely loved them too, and he adored being in nature.

After he passed, I learned several different coping mechanisms one of which was wildlife photography. It was my release and still is. As I grew to appreciate wildlife and conservation more and more, I finally came to realise that that is what I want to do for a living, become a wildlife biologist. So I majored in Wildlife Conservation at Unity College (completely online) and have one more year left until I get my bachelors degree. I am currently a veterinary technician at an animal hospital near me, and I have volunteered at several different wildlife rescues/refuges throughout my life that really taught me a lot. One of my favourite places I volunteered at was called Loggerhead Marine life Centre in Jupiter, FL. We rescued injured sea turtles and took care of them until they were totally healed and able to be released again. It was such an experience.

As of right now in my life, I have been growing and experiencing many new aspects when it comes to wildlife and conservation. I learn more every single day and can’t wait until I finally graduate and can get a career in the field doing what I absolutely love. Some people say to me “why don’t you just do something a bit easier like be a teacher because you probably won’t find a job in that field.” Or “there’s not many wildlife conservationists or biologists out there.” When that is said to me, it only makes me want to pursue this field even more and find such an amazing job. I know those comments are far from true. Unfortunately around me in NJ, there aren’t many people studying the same field as I am and there aren’t many wildlife conservationists/biologists unfortunately so sometimes I do feel a little out of place. But In the end, it’s what makes ME truly happy and I know I will be one bad ass biologist eventually.

I can’t wait to eventually meet and talk with others whom have the same interests as I do and work in the same field as I will be. Making connections and sharing great ideas are so vital in life. I also can not wait to share some amazing experiences with all different types of wildlife with others who have such a strong passion for our planet and animals as I do. I am stoked to see where this journey takes me and to do what I was meant to do in life with the field I’m going into. My father would be very proud.

For more of Gabrielle, check out @gabdivello on Instagram

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