Social media spotlight: Sara Shelley
Hometown: Westchester County, New York
Sara Shelley is a rising senior wildlife ecology major. She’s considering a career working to conserve endangered species. She wants to spread awareness about the importance of all species and educate the public about ways it can help. Shelley’s a member of the UMaine Dance Team and has taken supplies to families in Peru with Blue For Peru. This summer, she’s volunteering at The Rhino Orphanage in South Africa.
“Some nights I sleep with the smallest baby rhino, Ray (who’s about 3 months old and weighs about 200 pounds). Other nights, I wake up every three hours to make milk and bring it to the many other rhinos here at the orphanage. Baby rhinos think about milk 24/7; I’m convinced even when they’re sleeping. First thing in the morning, I usually take Ray for a walk in the bush, so he can be stimulated and learn how to eat grass like a big rhino. They’re like big dogs — they think they can fit on your lap, and they want to sleep with you on your bed. They’re very curious about the world around them and follow your every step. We’re standing in as their moms, so the smaller rhinos rely on us. Every single animal has its own personality, and it’s rewarding learning how each of them thinks, and gaining their trust and helping them grow to be independent individuals ready to be released back into the wild. At UMaine, I love the sense of community. UMaine is filled with students who are open-minded, outdoorsy, dedicated and fun. I enjoy being outside, exploring everything the world has to offer and spending nights with friends. I also really like food.”