Mallory Lindsay on creating “sparks of curiosity”Educator Highlights
Q & A with wildlife educator Mallory Lindsay
In our Educator Highlights, we go behind-the-scenes with educators who inspire us. We’re excited to feature Mallory Lindsay, a wildlife educator, and science communicator. Mallory is also known for her live nature classes and the dynamic way that she engages her audience of all ages.
Mallory believes that “facts are better understood through stories, curiosity should never be smothered, and the power of one should empower many.” We’ll include ways you can follow Mallory, including her new series called Weird Nature, her social media channels, and more! She’s even on TikTok.
Acorn Naturalists: Mallory, tell us a little bit about yourself. Are there any educators who have inspired you?
Mallory Lindsay: Growing up with little access to nature and science, I developed a very unhealthy relationship with the outdoor world. I was afraid of everything, believed every wildlife myth, and never had much confidence when hitting the trails.
As a young adult, I decided to change that and embarked on a mission to fall in love with nature by educating myself. It had such a life-changing impact, that helping others do the same became my life’s mission. Now, I try to create sparks of curiosity within minds so they can discover their own path in nature. They say giving your generation what you didn’t have is the best thing.
Now, I try to create sparks of curiosity within minds so they can discover their own path in nature. They say giving your generation what you didn’t have is the best thing.Mallory Lindsay
As a teenager/young adult, my biggest influencer in the wildlife world was David Attenborough and Rick Swartz. He had my dream job ever since I was a little girl- working with children and making an impact through education and media. I am very fortunate to call him a personal friend and mentor now.
Acorn Naturalists: When and how did your Live Nature Class idea emerge?
Mallory Lindsay: When COVID hit, I had some teachers who really didn’t know what to do, and I couldn’t do my in-class visits anymore. A lot of parents asked if we could have virtual science classes. I also had some of my younger fans asking if I would be doing book readings, so we continued with that. Then we had a weekly Wednesday Nature Class!
They have transitioned to weekly news segments on one of Southern California’s top-rated news program, KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego every Sunday at 9:40 am. They can be watched on the KUSI live stream feature or watched on the Nature Class blog the next day.
Acorn Naturalists: And you have many projects going at once. Is there a “day-in-the-life” idea or routine you can share?
The majority of my time is behind the computer now, but I try to get out whenever I can. One of my passion projects is reaching out to nonprofits who don’t have resources for media and education programs and asking if they would be willing to collaborate.
The goal is to elevate their voices within their communities, whether local or virtual, through media and/or education curriculums; meanwhile, I gather stories about wildlife conservation to share with others through presentations and adventure videos.
Acorn Naturalists: What’s one of your favorite lessons in schools?
Mallory Lindsay: My niche is “fear-to-fascination,” and that’s also one of the campaigns I have, where essentially I put the “creepy, crawly scary” things in a positive light.
I like to highlight the animals that a lot of people are afraid of, and also mention the ways they’ve also helped humans. For example, how venom is used for cancer treatment, leeches for reconstructive surgeries, and many other ways these “scary animals” are so beneficial to the planet and our species. Every species has a place.
Acorn Naturalists: Who is your favorite science communicator, if you have one?
Mallory Lindsay: Goodness, I have so many. Some of my favorites are Zoology Rick (Rick Swartz), Dr. Tracy Fanara (Inspector Planet), Stephanie Arnie, Emily Calandrelli (The Space Gal), and Maynard Okereke (HipHipMD).
Acorn Naturalists: Is there any animal you don’t like or have a fear of? If so, how do you work with that fear?
Mallory Lindsay: I’m still getting over my insecurities with sharks! I have a ton of respect for them, but I am still unsure about being around them while in the water. It isn’t because I am afraid of what they will do, I am afraid I will do the wrong thing and create a reaction I am not wanting. Most things that go ‘wrong’ when working with wildlife is due to a mistake a human makes, not the animal. Not being able to see 360 degrees around me makes me a bit uncomfortable lol. I don’t like feel so vulnerable and exposed.
Acorn Naturalists: It’s hard when you can’t see your surroundings for sure, that feels very key for our own survival instinct. So does anything helps with that “shark fear?”
Mallory Lindsay: I have been shark diving about two-three times and it gets easier. I do free diving—no tanks. We go in groups and you have a tour guide who chums the water. The sharks come in and then you wait. Then the sharks start investigating and it can get scary. The lemon sharks and smaller sharks are fine, but the big bull sharks are intimidating—they know they’re big predators. That stance with them is that you have to portray confidence.
There’s a hierarchy in the water column and they’ll try to challenge that. They’re not like leopard sharks which are, comparatively, like little puppy dogs. I wish they were my first sharks because that would have been a good transition.
Acorn Naturalists: Any advice to budding scientists or explorers?
Find your specialty. If you don’t know exactly what that is, ask your friends what you’re good at. Embrace that and put it into your passion. Remember that our smaller creatures need attention just as much as the bigger, charismatic fauna. Everything is connected, so all research is important.
Big thank you to Mallory, for all of her important work around wildlife education and her dedication to making science come alive.
Mallory Lindsay, aka Ms. Mallory, is a wildlife educator, science communicator, and visual storyteller. She is based in the USA where she travels as a media presenter, and impact campaign consultant for grassroots conservation projects. Check out ways to connect with her, below!
- Follow Ms. Mallory on Instagram, TikTok, FaceBook, YouTube, and more!
- Explore Ms. Mallory’s new series called Weird Nature!
- Check out Ms. Mallory’s Weekly Wednesday Nature Class series.
- To learn more or connect, you can always check out Ms. Mallory’s website.