Beckie is the Education Coordinator for Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. She helped develop the Education Department in 2018, creating more opportunities to help visitors make personal connections to stop the abuse and neglect of the exotic pet trade and the entertainment industry. Beckie attended the University of Arkansas and received her B.S. in Education with a focus on Wildlife Interpretation. Working for the Arkansas State Parks as Park Interpreter, she was able to help connect visitors to the flora and fauna of our beautiful state. After working for the parks, she decided to return home. An opportunity arose to work for TCWR, where she had grown up visiting. Beckie is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation. This internationally recognized organization focuses on education to help preserve and protect our natural and cultural heritage resources.
“It is through education that you can be the voice for wildlife everywhere to stop the abuse and neglect that they face. We have a role to play to stop the exotic pet trade and entertainment industry and protect wildlife in their native environments.”
Shayleen Richert became a Wildlife Interpreter at Turpentine in January of 2021 after graduating from Arkansas Tech University and majoring in Recreation and Parks Administration with an emphasis in Natural Resources. She has come from an interpretation background, previously working at Roaring River State Park in Cassville, MO. Ever since taking Interpretation classes at Tech and becoming a certified Interpretive Guide through Tech and the National Association of Interpretation, she knew that educating the public about wildlife and nature was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Shayleen has always had a love for big cats deep down since she was little and loves being able to teach people about the hardships they have to face on a daily basis through other facilities.
“I love being able to see that A-HA moment when talking to the public and seeing that what you just said has clicked with them, especially when it is as important as educating people on what these animals have gone through.”
Jessica is a former Animal Care intern who has recently become an Education Intern as of August 2020. As an Arkansas native, Jessica graduated from Henderson State University with a B.S in Natural Resource Management. Jessica knew from a young age that her purpose in life is to rescue animals and be their voice. She has volunteered countless hours at local humane societies and has spent many years working in dog rescue. This love for animals led her to Turpentine Creek shortly after graduation. While she loved her experience as an Animal Care Intern, Jessica also took a significant interest in teaching the public about our animals and what we can do to save them. She applied and was accepted into the Education program. She is thrilled to continue being a voice for the neglected and abused.
“Animals have no voice.
They can’t ask for help.
They can’t ask for freedom.
They can’t ask for protection.
Humanity must be their voice.”
― A.D. Williams
Arpan is a former Animal Care intern who became an Education Intern as of August 2021. He is from Kolkata, India, and traveled overseas to achieve his B.S degree from Manchester University in Indiana. After graduating with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Psychology, he received the fantastic opportunity to join the TCWR team. Since childhood, he always had a strong emotional connection with the animals and felt passionate about caring for them. He is super excited to work with big cats, hybrids, and all other species here. Knowing about all the neglect, abuse, physical and psychological stress these rescued animals went through, Arpan feels strongly motivated to spread these animals’ stories and raise awareness among everyone. In his tours, you will hear him say that these animals do not have their voice, so we should be the ones to advocate for them – which he strongly believes in.
“There’s a lot of darkness in this world, and it’s not possible to get rid of it all; what we can do is being that constant source of light against it – in the form of literacy and education to spread awareness as much as possible for a better brighter future!”
Dara is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the TCWR education team. This past spring, Dara graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts. She spent the last four years studying a wide range of subjects including psychology, anthropology, theater, and biology/ecology. Since she was a little girl, Dara has been extremely passionate about animal rights and wildlife conservation. Dara also possesses the belief that the way to change the world is through education and outreach. Having previously worked as an environmental education intern at the Audubon Naturalist Society and as a Teva (nature) specialist at Camp JCC, Dara is very familiar with the world of outdoor education. She is so thankful to have the opportunity to expand her breadth of knowledge in regards to big cat (and bear) conservation.