Abigail Campbell

Growing up in the United States, Abbey had a love for animals from a very young age. She attended a high school where she could major in animal sciences, and then majored in veterinary sciences at university. During her second year, she spent time volunteering in Costa Rica collecting data on sea turtles. This led to an internship deep in the jungles of Panama rehabilitating howler monkeys confiscated from the illegal pet trade. After these conservation-based experiences and taking an environmental science class at university, things took a turn. She was introduced to a study abroad program through her university called School for Field Studies and so spent her final semester of college in Tanzania. Here, while she studied wildlife management and finished a minor in Natural Resource Conservation, she also fell deeply in love with the natural world and realized that it was her life’s purpose to learn about and help protect it.

After graduating with a BSc at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Abbey spent the year volunteering with AmeriCorps’s Excelsior Conservation Corps. Here, she camped in various New York state parks, implementing environmental education programs and infrastructure. This later led to what she refers to as “the best job ever” with New York State Parks, where she worked as an environmentalist for three years. Here her responsibilities mainly revolved around the protection and population monitoring of an endangered shore bird, called the Piping Plover, but also involved the creation of a pollinator garden, doing beach clean ups and running educational programs.

While happy to effect change on a local level, Abbey applied to the Fitzpatrick Institute knowing that the education she will gain there will lay the foundation for making a bigger difference. She firmly believes that you can only protect what you know and wants to gain a deeper understanding of the biodiversity that we still have. After completing her degree at UCT, she plans to continue learning and making connections that allow her and others to come together and advocate for the planet on a larger scale.

Thesis: Long term changes in the incidence and characteristics of plastic ingested by White-chinned petrels. (Supervisor: Peter Ryan).