I knew that this day would come. I have been putting it off, ignoring it, pretending it wouldn’t happen. I thought perhaps that if I didn’t think about it, I wouldn’t have to face reality. Sure, there were gentle reminders, the whispering in my ear that the clock was ticking. I brushed them aside, thinking “It’s only October, it’s only November, it’s only…” But now the time has come.
It is time to write a blog about badgers.
The gentle reminders? The ticking clock? Did you really think they were referring to the end of my internship? The reality is that I made a promise to my cousin Noah over a year ago, just as I began thinking about applying for this internship, that if I indeed went to work for National Geographic, I would write an article about badgers for him. He is a badger-fanatic, and feels that these furry guys just don’t get enough press. I assured him that I if the opportunity presented itself, (not thinking it ever would) I would most surely write something about Meles meles.
Badger Victory #1: I got the internship.
Badger Set-Back #1: I was assigned to the Education Programs. “Sorry, Noah. Didn’t get placed in the Magazine. Doesn’t look like I’ll be writing anything any time soon.”
Badger Victory #2: The My Wonderful World blog. “Noah! I get to write for an NG blog! Badgers here we come!”
Badger Set-Back #2: I know absolutely nothing about badgers.
This, many people may feel, is a complete shame. As a home-grown Wisconsinite, the badger is my state animal as well as my Alma Mater’s mascot. You would think I would be totally consumed in Badger culture and lore. Not so. Wisconsin’s state animal is not the badger because we have so many running around, but rather because the miners who first settled here would spend a lot of time digging down in their holes. The term ‘badger’ described the miners for their lifestyle, which mimics the animal’s burrowing nature, and was later applied to all settlers coming to the region. Beyond their black and white striped faces and snarky disposition, I knew very little about the actual animal. I had no idea, for instance, that European badgers and American badgers were different species (a distinction Noah was quick to point out.) European badgers, according to Noah, are the cream of the Badger crop. How so? Not sure. Like I said at the beginning, I’ve been pushing off this post for quite some time.
Even if I did know a plethora about badgers, how was I supposed to integrate it into an educational geography blog? I have thought about, toiled over, and struggled with this question for nearly 4 months now. In the meanwhile, I was busy having some of the best months of my life. Every day was a new and exciting experience; I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in my short time here. Being engaged with teachers and coordinators let me experience the enthusiasm and creativity that Geography brings to students around the country. I’ve blogged about tsunamis in Samoa, climate change in Copenhagen, and everything in between. I’ve met fantastic people throughout the Society that share my great love for geography. I’ve done a lot since September, but it’s now my last day as the My Wonderful World intern and I only have one regret:
I still don’t know anything about badgers.
Noah, perhaps I’ve failed you. Or perhaps this post will assuage your badger mutterings. Instead of writing anything constructive about badgers, I will leave you all with this challenge:
Follow your passion. If you are intrigued by this post, look up the differences between American and European badgers; I’m sure you’ll find some interesting discoveries. If you love Mathematics, pursue it. In college, I abandoned my Pharmacy track to become a Geographer. My parents begged me to reconsider; “What can you do with a Geography major, Maggie?” Well Mom, I think I’ve done alright for myself. I got myself to National Geographic, right? Now if only I knew just a little more about badgers…
Maggie for My Wonderful World