How I Became a Reptile Educator (Emily’s Background)


Today’s episode will be kind of embarrassing because I’ll be sharing with you my experience as an educational background that got me to where I am now, but I will be incorporating into it old Pictures and video clips if I can get them to work from when I was a kid or teenager So that will be embarrassing but it’s part of the story So I feel like I’ve got to include them. You got to move right now? I will also be sharing with you the second YouTube channel that I’ve had since I was a teenager. It’s not active anymore But I’ve never shared it before so this will be interesting Anyway, enjoy today’s story about how I got to where I am. *introduction card* Go dancing? Good girl! Good dancing! What a pretty girl! You’re a.. (smooches) you’re a good girl. As I’m sure you already well know, I have always been an animal lover. It started with cats when I was really young and then, once I realized I was allergic to cats and dogs, I had to take an alternative route if I wanted to continue having pets. So when I was in fifth grade at ten years old I received my very first parakeets named Sunny and Timmy and they were the gateway animal into the exotic pet world basically. Shortly afterwards, I got a couple of cockatiels named Katie and Kyle. Kyle was really cool he knew how to talk. And when I was 14, I kind of jumped in size and got my first macaw. It was a green winged macaw. He was a disabled bird. He only had a couple of toes His name was Buddy and he was the bird that got me hooked on macaws. I think they’re my favorite type of bird to work with. They are just incredible animals. Also at 14 years old is when I started my first job. I worked at an ice cream store called Maggie Moose, they still have my favorite ice cream that I’ve ever had before. I worked there for a couple of years but then when I was 16, I started working at a cookie shop instead. I was a professional cookie decorator at Cookies by Design. In case you couldn’t already tell I have a huge sweet tooth, so working at both a specialty ice cream store and a specialty cookie store, I consumed way more sugar than I should have on a daily basis. But it was so delicious that calories didn’t count I figured. At 16, working at Cookies by Design, a couple of my, like, pet ownership things changed and I no longer had my green winged macaw or my cockatiels. My parakeets had passed away a while beforehand, but instead I, at 16 years old, adopted Cheyenne I got her from a breeder’s house. A ‘breeder’. She tried pairing up birds and it just didn’t work out because she didn’t provide them with very good homes. And Cheyenne was plucking even before I got her If you look at old pictures of her you can definitely tell that there’s more feathers from back then when I.. for the first few years. I had her and slowly over time she has fewer feathers on her chest and her legs and this, yes, could partially be due to her feather plucking habit which was originally caused by stress from her old owner and just became a bad habit like chewing on your nails that has maybe gotten worse over the years but I think most of her now lack of feathers is due to the fact that the follicles are no longer functioning properly you see when a parrot plucks their feathers for too long those follicles run out of feathers to make essentially and the a… follicles just don’t work anymore and no more feathers grow from them. So all of these follicles on her crop show all these follicles were dead before I got her so that’s why she’s never had feathers on her crop same with her back if you can see that there’s never been feathers on her back since I’ve had her the ones that have changed the most would be her chest feathers and that’s Because they do kind of grow in still, but they’re slowly dying off too. So it’s unfortunate but I’m getting a progressively more naked bird as I have her but your personality makes up for it. your a good girl. I still love you by the time I was 17 years old. I had also acquired a military macaw named Oliver He was the goofiest macaw I have ever owned he was a really fun bird and I also acquired a Congo African Grey. And African Grey parents are very smart birds I actually purchased mine as a freshly weaned baby from a wonderful breeder. I named am oscar and he knew how to say over a Hundred words and phrases he could count the ten He knew tricks. I did a lot of clicker training with him to do like basketball or ring toss things like that and I was so obsessed with parrots at this time of my life that I would record him doing his tricks like the ring-toss or the bowling and I would upload those to a little Channel I had called Macawlover2 Where you can still see today, these really old poor quality videos of my African Grey and the other parrots I’ve had in the past however, you don’t have to go check those out because like I said They’re really poor quality videos. And don’t subscribe because its not an active channel anymore. The last big thing that happened when I was 17 years old is that I left my cookie decorating Job, and I started working for Petsmart. I worked in the pet care department and that job actually helped me pay for college. I graduated… let me back up. I graduated high school in 2009 and during that time. I got my first year of college done with through the PSEO program if you’re in high school or junior high I highly recommend if your state offers that taking advantage of the PSEO program because it’s post-secondary enrollment option I believe it stands for if I remember correctly. But basically it’s free tuition and free books while you’re in high school It’s like a nice perk to getting a head start on college. I completed an entire year, which saved me not only a year of money from college tuition, but also an entire year of studying by the time I graduated from high school anyway after I graduated high school I continued working at Petsmart and that’s actually when I Met my first boyfriend named Ed who I am now Married to I married a customer, Ed was shopping at Petsmart He had recently acquired a blue and gold macaw of his own so we met over parrots and of course He was referred to me being the bird nerd at Petsmart And I gave him the advice he needed to take care of it and we just kind of clicked from there He likes to tease me about it all the time because I married a customer. After high school I went on to complete my now second year of college at a local Community College just to get my Generals done And once that was completed I transferred to the University of Minnesota where I finished my bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife with an emphasis on wildlife so I took classes including Zoology and dendrology mammalogy ornithology because I was obsessed with birds Ornithology as the study birds and when I graduated I luckily found a job with the Minnesota DNR as an interpretive naturalist however, it was just a temporary or a seasonal job basically at this position I worked at a specific state park throughout the summer and I had to create programs to connect Park visitors to Natural Resources in a hands-on
and engaging way So this is where I started learning how to do programs initially on.. and I loved it I really liked doing these programs whatever subject they were about I taught about Eagles I taught about trees I taught about geology a lot at the specific Park I was at and my favorite program I did was really anything that included wildlife or actual animals It was at this time that Ed and I had recently acquired our very first snake which was actually his snake It was an albino ball python named Athena and I used her in some of my very first rudimentary reptile programs as a naturalist, even though being a naturalist was an awesome job, and I loved it It was sadly only a seasonal position So I worked as a naturalist during the summer months when the park was busiest and then during the fall winter and spring I worked at Petsmart again. I did this for two years and unfortunately after two years that was the cap with this position with the DNR It was a temporary job Where you could only work two summers before having to relocate to a different park or finding another job all together Not wanting to just keep relocating every two years I decided I really needed to pursue something that was more permanent and year-round. So what I did in the meantime while I was searching for this perfect job Well as I went back to Petsmart full-time in a management position, and Ed I got married and bought a house But because of the craziness in working a couple of jobs I also worked part-time during this like weird transition period I worked as an aquarium cleaner for like senior living homes It was just nuts. I was working so many hours I could not give all the attention I needed to to the three parrots that I had so I found good homes for the military macaw and the African Grey but We kept Cheyenne she was the ring bearer at our wedding after all. You’re always gonna be in our family But now is when the reptiles come into play. Shortly after moving into our house Ed and I started attending local Herpetological Society Meetings and at our very first meeting we adopted or I adopted my very first snake which was Janet this bull snake I still have him today. It’s why I have quite a soft spot for him He start to get pretty old and he’s in Zombie shed mode right now, but he’ll be fine for today’s video Anyway, we adopted him and that’s when I started like the gears started moving and I was like, hmm I wonder if I could still continue a naturalist type position while working with reptiles at the same time You see while working at Petsmart throughout the years. I started to realize how much easier reptiles are to take care of than birds They I mean what other animal can you feed once a week or once every other week and get away with it, right? I also quickly discovered after working at Petsmart that snakes don’t chew on your furniture or squawk Talk about you Cheyenne or need attention or poop every 20 minutes. So reptiles are starting to look really good for me. So that’s kind of why we transitioned to reptiles from birds and then I started putting two and two together and I was like I really liked doing those programs for the park and I really like reptiles So I wonder if I can make my own job where I’m teaching people about Reptiles at various parks libraries Scout troop meetings and so forth, but then I found the perfect job opportunity for me It was a management position at a cave I’m not gonna say the exact cave because things didn’t end very well and they probably wouldn’t appreciate me calling them out But I worked at a cave that was local to my area and it was awesome and had great potential as a lifelong career basically I was a naturalist but underground I was like within touching distance from bats that were hibernating within the cave. It was so cool I gave cave tours, I taught people about geology and how caves are formed and stalactites and stalagmites Which by the way stalactites hold tight to the ceiling and stalagmites might grow up or they might get stepped on That’s how you remember the difference. Anyway, sorry cave naturalist coming back. Anyway, it was a great job However, the management there and my coworkers were Horrible to work with. I went home crying every day because of how much they would belittle me and yell at me for being a new manager a new employee and you know I decided that if I am this upset about a position It doesn’t matter how cool of a job it is if I am crying on my way home It’s not worth putting up with so I debated for a little while what I was gonna do I had already left Petsmart to take on this cave management position and thankfully Ed was there for me and he encouraged me to Go off on my own and start up snake discovery And that’s where it all originated from was Ed encouraging me to do the job of my dreams I spent the next three months creating a curriculum For my program that I would travel with as well as gathering reptiles that I would use during it and then I became a registered LLC things were kind of slow at first just like any business starting off Especially a weird unique business like snake discovery educational reptile programs But I spent the first year just advertising and getting my name out there and then by the second year Things really started taking off and this was when I realized this is something that I could do full-time after these programs Say at like a library I would often have families approach me asking how to take care of the animal During my show that they fell in love with like say the fat tail gecko everyone seemed to fall in love with or the milk Snake that I would bring and I would answer some other questions But I had I was kind of on a schedule so and I still am I have to like take off to my next program right away so I started feeling bad that I couldn’t answer all of their questions and that’s when I was like Well, what if I could direct them to a video I made on youtube So it’s facts and recommendations that I agree with because I’m making the video So that’s really where the channel started was giving me an easier opportunity to Teach people about reptiles after a show by just giving them a link to a video that I made that they can learn from But it turns out people I guess around the world wanna also learn about reptiles So the YouTube channel took off more than I was expecting And now it’s a major part of my day-to-day life and it’s been a lot of fun. So I kind of juggle the YouTube channel and my programs on a day to day basis I also When I was in college started up exotic pet Expos in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area So I’m an event coordinator for those but that’s a whole other story for another day I kind of have three jobs YouTube snake discovery programs and the fairs or Expos And those are the three things that keep me busy every day, but that’s kind of the story of Emily It was quite a journey, but I will say every job I had wether it was a good experience or a bad one taught me something new and it was a stepping stone that I needed to take in order to make it to where I am now So I’m thankful for each and every one of those jobs whether I liked the position or not I really wish the cave would have worked out. I mean now I’m happier I think where I am now, but the cave had great potential It’s just too bad that the managers were the way that they are that just goes to show you though that your co-workers Can make or break a job. I kind of only worked there for a week and a half This is candy corn by the way He is an albino Nelson’s milk snake that I picked up from the last Tinley reptile show when I initially got him He was Wiggly as all get-out and he was wild but look how much better. He’s gotten guys I’ve been working with him to trade him in to do programs someday, and he’s doing really well Anyway, that kind of covers all the steps that I had to take to get to where I am today It was a crazy ride, but well worth it in the end. I couldn’t be happier with what I’m doing for a living nowadays Thanks for watching today’s video. I’m sorry if it was kind of boring But for those of you who were wondering this video is for you. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time

100 thoughts on “How I Became a Reptile Educator (Emily’s Background)

  1. I'm still trying to catch up on your videos since I found the channel two or three weeks ago, but this video quickly became my favorite for so so many reasons, and I believe it'll stay that way. Thank you for sharing, it is truly appreciated.

    Ps. I played F. Horn terribly for 5 years before I switched to playing bass guitar at my church. I'm proud to have played it but bass suits me quite a bit better.
    Thanks Emily for showing the journey

  2. Yessss to the French horn players and is that a Yamaha? Either way obviously the best instrument out there. Plus if you played in an orchestra the percussion probably still hate you they do me, hahahaha

  3. Not many people can turn their dreams into jobs they love! Its awesome to hear and we all know how it feels to get ridiculed by a******s because they're jealous you got the boss position and they didnt. Love your channel and keep up the great work!

  4. Your cave job reminds me of a job I had working at a salon. The owner and employees were so awful that I quit, went back to school and refuse to ever to work in another salon. People suck.

  5. in 10 years i will post a video with the same title and im going to say it was you that make me a reptile edjucator

  6. Aren’t you 28? (In 2019) (If it’s real from what I’ve read on the internet your birthday is a half year from mine)

  7. This is cool 🙂 Absolutely not boring. You have the greatest personality and are a lot of fun to watch! I love the little thought bubbles you guys use for your animals, too 🙂

  8. Emily i love your personality so much! you're so pretty and positive! i wish you could come to my school! i would literally hug you i love your personality and just you in general so much!

  9. 6:59 bro the kid with the with the brown jacket and the orange pants I knew he was a
    Bad kid that doesn’t listen to anybody

  10. That is so cool. I was kind of wondering about the programs you did.
    My brother and I just volunteer our time every now and then. I guess he was Facebook friends with his old teachers from school and they saw how he had different reptiles and asked if he wanted to bring them in during the science classes every now and then. And after a few "show and tells" he asked if I would bring my leopard geckos since he's only ever had 1 lizard. A rescued blue-tongued skink. So I went to 2 of those, and after that the schools stopped messaging my brother. Plus I didn't like hearing shrieking kids every time we pulled out a new reptile. Didn't matter how many times the teacher or us told them before hand not to, they always would anyway. Which might be why they stopped having us come in. Dunno.
    But awesome work. Wish I could have had all the awesome experiences you've had. I did 1 year of zoology class at a community college while I was still in my senior year of high school. But for whatever reason I didn't continue with it.

  11. I used to have an African grey and a green Connor but they both died my green Connor named(Barney)died on Thanksgiving day 2017

    I love your YouTube channel.

  12. Emily, I don’t even own a reptile and I’ve been following your channel for months! That’s how good you are! ?❤️

  13. I don’t play French horn but my music teacher plays French horn…I play Trombone tho but my teacher is like a sister to me. ?

  14. At 20 yrs old I recently applied to Petco and I just enrolled for my fall classes. I have been working with animals since 16 and I want to eventually reach your level of success.

  15. Who else was keeping an eye on shian ( I spelt that wrong XD ) while she played with Emily’s strap on her jumper XD

  16. As a new subscriber I enjoyed this video so much. I have watched many of your videos, truth be known I’ve been binging, over the last 2 days and I enjoy how interesting but fun you make your videos. My 14 year old grandson wants a lizard which I know nothing about so I’m educating myself for him. It’s nice to meet you.

  17. We also have an African grey called Oscar. Though we rescued him and he’s always been aggressive I guess of how he was treated. But we’ve tried to tame him but he still very bitey. Any advice?

  18. OMG!!!! I have two birds Oliver is a green cheacked conure and Charlie is a pineapple conure! And you had a macaw with the same name as my green cheacked conure!!!

  19. so funny enough, I was also a horn player in grade school (6th-sophomore in college) and I also worked at petsmart as pet care lol

  20. I love your vidéos so much your the best youtuber that i ever watch your animals are just wow i really want to know how you get that much animals ??

  21. Would have been hilarious if the bird sitting on her shoulder looked at her like “I thought I was the only bird you loved”

  22. OH MY GOD YOU CAME TO MY SCHOOL ALL THE WAY IN ILLINOIS I THINK THATS HOW I RECOGNIZED YOUR FACE YOU SHOWED US SNAKE SKIN AND I TOUCHED YOUR BLACK SNAKE

  23. In German, you remember "Stalaktiten"a little naughty.
    "Titten" is a rude word for "breasts".
    …you see were this is heading 😉

  24. I love this channel, you are so enthusiastic and interesting! Thanks for sharing your story and infectious charisma.

  25. This video link is to oscar’s tricks https://youtu.be/CVBRZP8jWX8 pls don’t steal these cost 1 like

  26. in the pic of your petsmart going away party, the girl above and to the left, in the purple shirt, looks just like danielle dufault of the animalogic channel. is it her? that'd be so cool

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *