Summertime Standouts: Tess Scarborough

‘The more we care, the more we can change’

Tess in South Africa
Tess Scarborough, a talented photographer, documented her South Africa trip through her artistic lens and connected with new environments and people through art, science, and heart. (All photos by Tess Scarborough)

When Jane Goodall spoke at Colorado State University in 2007, an 11-year-old Tess Scarborough was in the audience, mesmerized by Goodall’s gentle but fearless demeanor.

Scarborough was impressed then, and now, by the scientist and her commitment to the planet, its animals, and people.

Today, Scarborough is an Ecosystem Science and Sustainability student at Warner College of Natural Resources, and she just returned from South Africa as part of Warner College’s Communities and Conservation study abroad program.

While there, she participated in a homestay with a family at Tshulu camp and got to spend time with the women of the Black Mamba anti-poaching alliance. She’s using those experiences to shape the scientist she will be for the world.

Listening is key

Scarborough said no one really talks about the bias that is associated with science. She explained the way studies and experiments are designed can be telling one’s own experiences or influences in this world.

“The biggest key to helping solve issues abroad is listening,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter how smart you or your ideas are if you don’t know what local people truly need and if you don’t involve them in projects. It is not our jobs as scientists to tell people how we operate things back in the U.S. It is our job to take our knowledge and integrate it in a way that isn’t bulldozing or whitewashing cultures different from our own.”


Scarborough shot impactful photos of wildlife during her South Africa trip.

Scarborough, a talented photographer, was able to capture her trip through her artistic lens and connect with new environments and people through her art, science, and heart.

For my future career, I am really interested in finding culturally viable solutions to environmental and conservation issues,” Scarborough said. “I want to help people by helping the ecosystem in which they live, while at the same time preserving their culture and way of life. The more we care, the more we can change.”

About Summertime Standouts

Summertime Standouts is an annual feature on SOURCE that highlights students who made an impact this summer around the globe, across the country, and even close to home.

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