My name is Leah and I am a sophomore at Duke University studying Environmental Science and Policy and Evolutionary Anthropology and I am lucky enough to have been involved at the Lemur Center since the start of my freshman year.
In addition to my duties as a tour guide at our unique “Lemur Landing” facility, I have been working as a research assistant in Dr. Brian Hare’s Lab. My current “Hare Lab” research entails collecting videos of the lemurs yawning for an emotional contagion study.
Encouraging lemurs to yawn can be quite a challenge, but I am fortunate that instead of testing a lot of different animals I have had the incredible opportunity to work with just two family groups all year. This has allowed me to get to know the individuals within each group, which has been a very rewarding experience. It is always nice to have a friendly furry face welcome you to work and Johan (a Ring-tail lemur) has taken this task upon himself. Unfortunately I am not allowed to bring the lemurs back to my apartment!
I was recently trained to give Behind the Scenes Tours, which has also been an amazing experience. It is a privilege to be able to take guests into our animal building and watch their faces light up as they experience the wonders of lemurs close up and first hand. Working in education outreach is something that I especially enjoy because not only do I get to share my passion for lemurs and conservation I am also constantly learning new things.
I just want to thank all of the staff at the Lemur Center and everyone who comes out and supports us for allowing me to have the best jobs an undergraduate student could ever have. The Lemur Center is an incredible resource and I can’t wait to share my adventures there next semester with you. Until then Happy Holidays!