Dive into the captivating world of conservation with the Young WaveMaker Webinars hosted by Cape Perpetua Collaborative. Designed to inspire and educate the next generation of conservation leaders, these webinars bring together passionate individuals, innovative research, and the vibrant stories of our land and sea. Ideal for those eager to learn more about our natural surroundings, the webinars emphasize scientific exchange, community engagement, and the importance of stewardship. Join us and be a part of the next wave of conservation leaders.
From Iowa to Jellyfish (and how Oregon helped get me there)
Meet the Speaker– Connor Willeford
Connor Willeford is a Jellies and Live Food Aquarist II at Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. He received his AAS in Aquarium Science from Oregon Coast Community College (2021) and has been involved in the aquarium industry in an educational and professional capacity for almost 8 years now. As jellies and live food aquarists, he and his team are in charge of maintaining a wide diversity of jelly species and jelly cultures for display across multiple exhibits, including one of the biggest jelly exhibits in North America. They are also tasked with the culturing of multiple different live foods both for the jellies and other sections at their facility.
About the Project:
Iowa is probably far from the first choice people would have as a place for getting introduced to marine sciences, but that is where Connor Willeford got his early start at Central Campus in Des Moines, Iowa while a part of their marine science high school program. From there this career path would take him to the Florida Keys, San Francisco, Connecticut, back to the Midwest with Missouri and (by far most importantly) the Oregon Coast where he would develop his skills and learn from some of the best and most knowledgeable people in the industry.
In this talk, Connor will give a rundown of his career so far, giving perspective on the unique paths people can take to get involved and progress in the public aquarium industry while also highlighting all of the help and connections that lead back to his time spent on the Oregon Coast.
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