Although Conservation Made Simple is run by an amazing board and volunteers, there are two prominent faces and names that may be familiar to you: Cameron Winkler and Isabel Quimby. While we were preparing our next blog post, we had the idea that some of you may not be familiar with who we are and may be interested in learning more. If you aren’t, well we will see you in next month’s post!
Hello all! My name is Cameron Winkler and I am president of Conservation Made Simple. This endeavor has been a dream since the beginning and I want to thank you for the support so far as we start making CMS a full-blown organization! Let me start with a little history… I was born and raised in Washington State with an interest in animals and conservation since I was a wee lad. As I grew older, you could find me diving into conservation books and environmental documentaries learning as much as I could to further my knowledge on animals and how to turn that into something useful. Around 12 I started volunteering at our local zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, using that knowledge to educate kids about the animals and their wild counterparts. This turned into another volunteer opportunity at the zoo where I used animal biofacts (pelts, skulls, feathers, etc.) to educate visitors about the animals and some of their great adaptations. At the same time, I did some volunteering with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife doing amphibian monitoring which entailed finding, identifying, and recording multiple species of frogs and salamanders in the Seattle area. Halfway through high school, I started attending the running start program Ocean Research College Academy (Side note: I met this crazy ambitious girl named Isabel while there and I guess she made some kind of impression…). While there, I not only completed high school and attained my Associates in Arts and Science but conducted a research study on American River Otters and the usage of trail cameras to monitor their activity. During this period of time, I also embarked on a three-week sailing trip with Deep Green Wilderness learning about the Salish Sea and the amazing creatures that call it home (Isabel and I on board pictured below). After graduation, I returned to the zoo as an exhibit attendant for the summer working with both the gorilla and butterfly exhibits. While there, I was able to start talking to visitors extensively who became very curious where all these opportunities would lead me, as I’m sure you are wondering right now! This is where CMS in its infancy was created. I started thinking long and hard about what made the most sense for an ambitious and spirited 18-year-old to go and start working, and what came out of that was CMS. This is where I asked Isabel to become the vice president, put together a board of hard working individuals, and started the paperwork to lead to a 501c3 non-profit.
Now I know that is a long story, and many things seem unnecessary, but what I wanted to emphasize is that at the moment I am creating most of the ideas and assigning people to those tasks and I want you to rest assured that I have dipped my hand in many areas to learn how to do the things CMS is setting out to do. Our two biggest pillars that hold up CMS are conservation and education and although I may only be 20, I have already dedicated my life and actions to those two things and am stoked for the life ahead of me doing the same thing! I hold dear the idea of transparency and promise to be open and honest about Conservation Made Simple and all that it is doing, all the time. If you follow us on social media, you have already seen a glimpse of that here and there as I give you seemingly random updates from time to time. Again, I want to thank you for your support for CMS and our mission and I am looking forward to where we can take this with your help!
Hello fellow changemakers, my name is Isabel Quimby. I am the Vice President of Conservation Made Simple, and I was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Since I was a child, I have always been enthralled with the ocean and what could be found within and around them. Early on, I became a SSI certified scuba diver which allowed me to no longer just dream about what was in the ocean, but become one with it and dive in. Through these adventures underwater, I naturally became fascinated with the creatures I encountered. This passion was the main driver for this diver to start looking into schooling that would help nurture my passion and dream into more of a reality day to day. I found that nurturing environment in the Ocean Research College Academy. Between the curriculum and faculty, I was able to expand my environmental knowledge and dive deeper into my passion for the environment. While attaining my Associates in Art and Science, I was also volunteering at the Seattle Aquarium helping visitors to learn more about the animals and larger conservation efforts the aquarium was taking part in. Halfway through my ORCA schooling, I was blessed to also be onboard the three-week sailing trip with Deep Green Wilderness where I experienced the beauty of the Salish Sea from the gorgeous vessel the Orion. Although the trip was focused on multiple keystone species, the animals that caught my eye the most were all the whale we saw. We were privileged to spot three different species of whales in three weeks and a total individual count too high to keep track of throughout the journey. This spurred a specific interest in whales and the advocation for conservation efforts through the realization of how these gentle giants are being affected by so many factors constantly. I guess you can say I adopted the way of the whales as after graduation I myself migrated to Hawaii for a couple months for school. However, like the whales, I found myself back home to finish my schooling at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. I am currently pursuing degrees in both Environmental Education and Sustainability Studies. I hope to use my studies to not only support Conservation Made Simple, but also teach environmental studies outdoors. With this, I hope to help people connect with the natural environment around them through hands-on work in leadership and environmental stewardship. As of today, my conservation interests dive deep into sustainable lifestyles and low-waste living, knowledge that I strive to pass onto the changemakers such as you. Since I was a child, my passion has always been for the environment and I have decided to dedicate my time and effort to pursue environmental conservation and education.
In terms of my current involvement with Conservation Made Simple, I am the point person for all social media outlets. I am currently working on building a strong base for Conservation Made Simple going forward with hopes to train new volunteers to start taking over social media. I will be taking a three-week break between school and work to focus on building the structure for our programs, projects, and other endeavors over the next year. I hope to utilize Conservation Made Simple to connect with veteran and novice environmentalists around the world in hopes of creating a network of changemakers. Between Cameron and I, we are working our hardest to bring the content you desire and deserve from Conservation Made Simple going forward. I want to thank you for tuning in for this month’s blog post and hopefully you can feel like you know us a little bit better!
(Cameron and Isabel sailing with Deep Green Wilderness)