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 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.”
Abby Hickam became a staff member in August of 2019 after completing a year as Turpentine Creek’s education intern. She obtained her B.S in Zoology from Arkansas State University in 2018. She always knew she wanted to work around animals since she was young, but never knew in what way. After receiving her degree, she participated in an avian husbandry program in North Carolina. Seeing the impact of education at that facility, she decided that informing the public was what she wanted to do. Since being at Turpentine, Abby has continued her education by becoming a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association of Interpretation.
Turpentine Creek opened her eyes to the problems exotic animals face in captivity throughout the United States. Educating the public about these hardships and how people can help is one of the main reasons she decided to stay when offered a staff position.
“Knowing that people come into the refuge with no idea of the issues big cats face and leave wanting to become advocates is extremely rewarding.”
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