Are the animals okay? I have been asking myself this question for as long as I can remember. It's the reason I became a veterinarian. It's the central theme behind my writing and teaching. It's why I work in conservation.

Unfortunately, countless animals are not okay. Dozens of species are on the brink of extinction. Others have been squeezed into smaller, fragmented, altered habitats. We have also dramatically changed the nature of our relationship with animals. We live in much closer quarters, and our health is more closely connected.

The good news is that if health problems are linked, so are the solutions. The next step is to better understand the many connections between human, animal and environmental health.

I hope you will find inspiration here to participate any way you can.

In May 2015, I had the honor of giving my first TED talk. Please watch and share. As I say at the end of the speech, what I have learned from teaching at an art school is that there is a whole new world of possibility for conservation—if we change our approach. Now is the time to reconnect the arts and sciences. We need to bring artists and scientists together not only to understand what is happening to the animal kingdom, but also to design and implement solutions. >>
The art and science of saving species
Several years ago I remember slogging along a muddy trail in Rwanda thinking about one-health medicine. It made so much sense; it was so easy to explain. Healthy mountain gorillas depended on healthy people and a healthy environment, and vice versa. The problem was getting people to act on it. >>
Biodiversity in Guyana
This is a travel course co-taught with RISD Literary Arts and Studies professor Dr. Nicole Merola. In this course, students explore the role of biodiversity in society, approaching the topic from multiple perspectives, including the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and visual arts. Taught collaboratively, this course emphasizes the importance of connecting ideas, information, and methodologies across the arts, humanities, and sciences, with an emphasis on biology. >>
National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia
In 2012 I had the honor of writing an animal encyclopedia for National Geographic! The book was published in October (2012) and is now widely available. It's full of animal facts and gorgeous photographs — 1,000 of them. Also included are interviews with scientists in the field and plenty of colorful graphics. >>
Blog: Saving Otters by Lucy Spelman
Otters remind me, in some ways, of dogs. In other ways, they're cat-like. There's something very endearing about these athletic, powerful, and playful animals. They can be tamed, but only to a point. Ultimately, water is their home. The more I've worked with otters, the more my interest has grown, not only in these amazing animals, but also in their environment, and in their interactions with people. >>
Before qualifying for a job in this field, veterinarians study for years. Most of us spend at least a year and sometimes as many as five training in zoological medicine (abbreviated zoo med). And that's after four years of college and four years of veterinary school. For those who'd like to join our profession, here's an outline of the steps involved and some advice. >>
Lucy published her first work of creative non-fiction, a short story called "The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes" in 2008. The short story appears in a book of the same name, a collection of 28 stories by zoo vets about their patients, which she co-edited with Dr. Ted Mashima. Rhino has since been published in paperback, several other languages and in the UK under a new title, Hippo with Toothache. >>