~ A message from our partners ~
Laura Kubiak has been teaching Wildlife and Sustainability at Toledo Public School’s Aerospace and Natural Science Academy for seven years. As an avid lover of environmental education she studied at Miami University and took trips to biological conservation hotspots in India, Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico to learn how to protect natural resources. Her transition to teaching high school students came from a desire to impart her knowledge and passion. “I want to inspire my students to be the next gen to work for environmental efforts.”
Students who are enrolled in Wildlife and Sustainability are able to hone in on what specific area they would like to learn more about. The program covers protection of soil, air, water, as well as habitat restoration and the study of all living things. The opportunities within the program include paid internships with The Toledo Zoo as well as working with the Metroparks, City of Toledo water treatment plant, and US Fish and Wildlife Services. Kubiak notes that the program is a great way for kids to get outdoors. “The class is research based but they learn how to enjoy natural resources…my students go on camping trips, participate in archery and cross country skiing.”
Kubiak’s favorite part of the job is being a mentor to these students. “It’s a unique job and I care very much to see our planet become more sustainable.” Students show success inside the program as well as beyond. A former student who interned with NASA is now an environmental science major at UT who created a water conservation festival for kids during the summer. Kubiak believes she will go on to work in restoration ecology. “It makes me proud that they have gained these skills and knowledge from the program. It will make a big difference.”
When Kai Mira Fisher first came to school she didn’t know much about plants and animals. But after doing a research project and interning at The Toledo Zoo working with local turtle populations she found her passion in being outside and connected with nature. When asked about the program Kai noted, “Try it out, you have four years of high school to figure out what you like. Don’t be scared.” The success she’s experienced in the program has helped expand her career options. She wants to be either a doctor or med student but also now has opportunities within the Toledo Zoo as well.
Hunter Sauerwein is a senior in the Wildlife and Sustainability program. His involvement in the Toledo Zoo internship impacted him immensely and made him want to go into conservation biology after high school. He noted that the program helps drive you to become a better person and to reach your goals in every possible way. When asked what he would tell potential new students he said, “ I’d want them to know that you can try multiple different things. Forestry, animal care, wildlife. Try everything at least once to see what works best for you.”
Day’Veonna Smith, didn’t know about this school until last year. She fell in love with the teachers and credits Ms. Kubiak in her career choice. “I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist since I was 10 and now I have solidified my choice.” The program allowed her to open her horizons to wildlife and fall in love with conservation. “They made me feel welcome and comfortable.”
Angelina Barto also has had a great experience with Ms. Kubiak. She notes, “Even if you’re not interested in majoring in these fields it’s still a good experience. The teachers really care.” Angelina has always had a love for animals which made the program especially interesting to her. Working in the classroom has shown her all of the options she has going forward such as a veterinarian or a wildlife biologist working with plants.