Welcome, friends, to episode 2 of Rewildology!
In this episode, I’m chatting with Dave Johnson who may be one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. We explore his personal journey to discovering what he really wanted to do in life, why he made the big career shift to starting his own non-profit, and what it was like as a gay man growing up in a conservative household. We also share his mindset while traveling abroad and how to make connections with people from different countries.
A little more about Dave. Dave is a zookeeper who has been working with the pachyderm collection in Denver for over 22 years. He is also the Executive Director of the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund, which is a non-profit that works on wildlife initiatives and global partnerships to help save species and provide sustainability options for the local people wanting to make a difference. He writes kids books and leads community trips abroad to highlight their work. Dave wants to spread his passion to the next generation of animal nerds!
Here is my convo with Dave:
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- Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? [2:04]
- Dave tells the story of how we ended up moving to Colorado in the 90s. [11:19]
- Dave discusses how and why he started philanthropic efforts for rhinos. [13:16]
- What made you want to engage the community? What was that inspiration deep in your soul? [15:36]
- What is the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund? How did it start? [20:48]
- How did Nepal come to be? What relationships did you form? [30:40]
- What was your first book? [41:32]
- Dave and I discuss how he met his husband, what is was like growing up in a conservative household, and how the conservation community has treated him throughout his career. [49:27]
- What are some of the projects that you’ve done and what have you expanded to? How you pick regions to go to? [01:06:11]
- What is your craziest or funniest travel story? [01:21:29]
- What asks do you have of anybody listening for next steps of what they can do in their lives to help the wildlife that you love so much? [01:26:21]
- Parting thoughts. [01:33:14]
Download the full transcript below.
- Katie Adamson Conservation Fund: https://www.katieadamsonconservationfund.org/
- Donate to KACF: https://kindest.com/katie-adamson-conservation-fund
- Where KACF works around the world: https://www.katieadamsonconservationfund.org/project-initiatives
- The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiesson: https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Leopard-Penguin-Classics/dp/0143105515