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Student Spotlight: Tanee Janusz works with wild

Anjanae Crump, Editor-in-Chief

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Tanee Janusz is a UNO student majoring in environmental and coastal sciences. She is a certified Louisiana Master Naturalist and has worked in informal environmental education for 18 years in places like the Louisiana Nature Center and the Audubon Zoo. She sat down with Driftwood to tell us about her hands-on nature outreach company, Nature to You.

 

AC – Anjanae Crump, Driftwood editor-in-chief.

TJ – Tanee Janusz, owner of Nature to You.

 

AC: How does the program work? What types of things do you do?  

TJ: I bring an assortment of animals with me to my client’s location where I educate them on the topics they have selected. They get to touch (sometimes handle, depending on size of the crowd) animals, experiment with different hands-on activities, and get up-close with biofacts.  My program offerings vary, but a sample would be learning about food chains, adaptations, wetlands, and outdoor skills with scouts.

 

AC: What made you start this company?   

TJ: I have worked in informal wildlife and nature education for about 18 years. When I made the decision to leave the big nonprofit I worked for to go back to school full-time, I wanted to continue bringing programs to the public. I had the animals already, and they were used to being animal ambassadors for things I would do with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop and other volunteer projects I took on.

 

AC: What is the goal of this company?  

TJ: To bring entertaining and educational programs with live animals to people of all ages, that help them make a connection with wildlife and the natural world.

 

AC: What’s your target audience and why?

TJ: My target audience is anyone that is eager to learn! I have taught a wide range of ages and truly value anyone that is willing to have an open dialogue.

 

AC: What are some of the animals you work with, and where do you get them?  

TJ: Most of my animals were donated. I belong to the Louisiana Master Naturalists and used to be a wildlife rehabilitator (where I would get calls asking if I could take animals people had as pets too). Coupled with my connections at my old non-profit, I get a lot of opportunities to add to my animal ambassador team. So far, I have a sulcata tortoise, three box turtles, a red-eared slider, seven snakes, a tarantula, Madagascar hissing roaches, two bearded dragons; and my biggest star is a two-headed juvenile western rat snake. Sometimes I have seasonal insects, too, like ox beetles, monarch caterpillars and Eastern lubber grasshoppers. My top priority is my animals, and I spend a lot of time making sure their needs are met, mentally and physically.

 

AC: What are your future plans for this company or your career in general?

TJ: I am not sure!  All I want is to make a positive environmental impact with people I meet in the community, whether it’s having a long run with my company or going in a different direction after I graduate from UNO. I’m an older, non-traditional student and the biggest lesson I have learned in life so far is to be able to roll with whatever life hands you.

 

AC: How can people contact you or learn more?  

TJ: My website is www.naturetoyou.org, or you can find me on Instagram under @chasingtanee if you want to see more of what I do on the animal ambassador side.

 

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Student Spotlight: Tanee Janusz works with wild