Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Scarlet Snake Story

I found my first ever Scarlet Snake at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park in Florida when I was 10 years old. It was a roadkill on the main drive of the park. I was there with my family and was learning at an early age that I could road cruise on my bike and find snakes. Scarlet snakes were not listed as occurring in the park so I showed my find to the ranger that would walk through the campground each day checking in with the guests. He was adamant that the snake I held dead in my hands was a scarlet kingsnake and I tried to educate him on the differences between the tricolored snakes of Florida. He wouldn't listen and all I wanted was to add a species of snake to the park's species list. I skinned the snake, salted and pinned the skin out to dry and kept it. I still have this skin somewhere in my old belongings. I might have to find it now. It seems I learned early on that people have their preconceived perceptions about snakes and that conservation through education is needed.

Guess what happens when you fast forward 30 years and revisit St. Joseph Peninsula State Park - you find the scarlet snake pictured here. I told that ranger that they occurred in the park!

Conservation Through Education

Scarlet Snake

I quit my job - now what?

Here is my formal announcement to the world - On January 3rd, 2017, I quit my job as an environmental consultant and I will never work on that side of the fence again.  I hated my job in all aspects.  I didn't like the company I worked for.  I didn't like the the people that had been made in charge of me after my good friend and supervisor quit because of the company that bought us.  I didn't like that I worked for the oil and gas industry that continues to abuse the system to make a few people rich.  I didn't like my commute after they moved us into the new office after the buyout.  I didn't like my workspace (I didn't even have a cubicle).  Let's just say, my job was about the most negative thing in my life and I finally made the change to cut it out.

Now what?

Now I can focus on healing.  Healing myself.  Healing my mind.  Healing my unhealthy body.  Healing my relationships.

Now I can focus on snakes and their conservation.  I can finally network without the fear of being caught and reprimanded by my employer (this did happen to me by the new company that bought the old one).  I can finally be the Executive Director of the Center for Snake Conservation!

Now I can be happy.  This past week has been eye-opening about how much stress and anxiety my job caused me.  I am free.  I haven't gotten into a good routine yet (meditation, workout, clean a little, make a snake video, etc.) but I am free.  My entire outlook has changed.  I am not penned down by something I do NOT believe in.

My only regret is not quitting my job 2 years ago when it was clear that negative changes where coming before I got to this point of no return.  However, this is all water under the bridge now, I am free...

Cardamom Mountains Green Pit Viper "free and foraging in the wild"