24 June 2009
Inspired by Steve Irwin's dedication to conservation, American student Katie Dziedzic is set to gain a wealth of experience from her visit to Australia Zoo as the Steve Irwin Fellowship recipient, with a goal to really make a difference.
Now in its third year, The Steve Irwin Fellowship is a tribute to Steve Irwin's commitment to ‘conservation through exciting education', and aims to further develop the passion and knowledge of youth for conservation.
The Steve Irwin Fellowship was established in conjunction with Chicago-based Shedd Aquarium's Mentor Programs, which provide opportunities to high school students interested in pursuing a career in marine science. The program is facilitated by the Australian Consulate-General, and supported by the Macquarie Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group.
A love of wildlife and passion for conservation is a driving force for Katie, a senior student from Chicago, US, who will pursue higher education in marine science following her educational visit to Australia Zoo, as well as her experience at Shedd Aquarium, as part of the Steve Irwin Fellowship.
The Steve Irwin Fellowship provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for the recipient to further develop their zoological science and wildlife conservation knowledge through a study abroad experience.
As part of this experience, Katie travelled to Queensland to work with local conservation programs. Katie spent time at Australia Zoo and at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors - Australian Wildlife Hospital, Lady Elliot Island, and enjoyed a trip on Australia Zoo Whale Encounters vessel Steve's Whale One, to venture off the Sunshine Coast and watch Humpback Whales during their annual migration north.
Australia Zoo Education officer Nick Bell facilitates the Steve Irwin Fellowship recipients' visit to Australia Zoo, and said that Katie's visit was highly anticipated, and will provide an excellent platform for her to develop.
"Katie got to experience some things at Australia Zoo that are normally reserved for experienced staff and dedicated volunteers, like assisting the Australian Wildlife Hospital, and attending a rescue with the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit, and also got to have some fun with hands-on animal encounters at Australia Zoo," Nick said.
"Katie is a very high achieving student who has a lot of passion for conservation and wildlife, and we were excited to again be able to provide some awesome educational and hands-on experiences for this great initiative, and hopefully further encourage Katie's passion."
Katie also held high hopes for her visit - and hasn't been disappointed.
"My experience here at Australia Zoo has been a whirlwind of adventures - absolutely amazing!" Katie said.
"I was thrilled to be where Steve Irwin started to live out his passion for wildlife conservation. It is just such a wonderful feeling to be given this opportunity to learn about areas of conservation and wildlife encounters."
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