NORTH ADAMS -- Environmental journalist and conservationist Jeff Corwin urged students to take action on a local level during a visit to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Wednesday.
Corwin spoke on campus as this fall's Hardman Lecture Series, funded through the Hardman Family Endowment.
"You can think about the big picture issues, which are overwhelming," he said in a session for students Wednesday afternoon. "But chances are there are local challenges in your own back yard. There are local foundations and groups working to save, restore, and protect."
The eastern Massachusetts native is known in part for his work in television including Jeff Corwin Unleashed, for which he won an Emmy. Corwin now serves as the host of the ABC series Ocean Mysteries.
As a journalist, Corwin has served as a special correspondent on science and the environment for NBC News and has appeared on many programs on various channels.
During a press event Wednesday afternoon, Corwin noted that his shows on wildlife are unlike others which use outlandish tactics to draw in ratings.
"We're one of the few shows that doesn't involve some guy shooting something or wrangling something," he said.
Traditional wildlife shows are not as common as they once where, he said.
"They just don't get the ratings," he said. "In the end it's what people want, and what they want is what they'll get on TV."
Corwin criticized major media outlet's coverage of climate change, and pointed to the debates in the most recent presidential election.
"There was not one question about endangered species, not one question about climate change," he said. "There were questions about energy, but there were no questions about the future of habitat and wildlife in our country and beyond its borders. In the end, it's our fault, because we didn't make that a priority for us."
During a session with students, topics included when Corwin first decided to become a conservationist to career options in conservation.
Corwin said he was volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center by his early teens, and brought turtles, snakes and even a falcon home.
"My mother thought I was going to become a famous scientist or a famous criminal," he told students. "Whenever I would get home my mom would literally make me empty all my pockets."
Corwin also spoke about the country's relationship with food -- many people don't know where their food comes from or eat too much food, he said.
"We made a rule in our house that we would not purchase food if it didn't come within 30 miles from our home," he added.
Corwin gave encouragement to those students majoring in the sciences.
"There are certainly opportunities," he said. "You have to be creative, you have to work hard, and I would say you have to be the best in what you're going to be."
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