February 19, 2018
School & Youth
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  • Bailey Clark spent her 2017 summer at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. The site has giraffes, porcupines, blue-and-gold macaws and many other animals.
    Photo Provided
    Bailey Clark spent her 2017 summer at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. The site has giraffes, porcupines, blue-and-gold macaws and many other animals.
  • Bailey Clark spent her 2017 summer at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. The site has giraffes, porcupines, blue-and-gold macaws and many other animals.
    Photo Provided
    Bailey Clark spent her 2017 summer at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. The site has giraffes, porcupines, blue-and-gold macaws and many other animals.
  • Bailey Clark spent her 2017 summer at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. The site has giraffes, porcupines, blue-and-gold macaws and many other animals.
    Photo Provided
    Bailey Clark spent her 2017 summer at the Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. The site has giraffes, porcupines, blue-and-gold macaws and many other animals.

Where Are They Now: Bailey Clark

Zach Sparks
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View Bio
January 23, 2018

Aspiring Veterinarian Hopes To Make Conservation Cool

Two years ago, Bailey Clark stood before an audience of students at Solley Elementary and nestled a rat in the crook of her arm while she used her free hand to grip a microphone.

Clark would later become the salutatorian of Northeast High School’s Class of 2016 and a pre-veterinary major at the University of Maryland, College Park, but on that day, she was doing what she loves most: educating others about the proper care of animals.

She no longer runs that Pets with a Purpose program, but she is heavily involved in animal-related affairs. As a sophomore at UMD, she is pursuing an animal sciences degree and, ultimately, she hopes to become a wildlife veterinarian with a focus on conservation education.

“Conservation is important to me because I believe there is a lot left worth fighting for in this world,” Clark said. “You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in the belief that your actions are insignificant when it comes to taking care of our planet and its wildlife. My job is to help people make a connection with conservation so that they care enough to contribute to the cause. After all, the trees can’t speak for themselves!”

All of Clark’s recent endeavors are helping prepare her for a career in veterinary medicine. She does research to find alternative treatments for mastitis in dairy cows (UMD’s College of Agricultural and Natural Resources has an off-campus research facility in Clarksville), and she is the vice president of the UMD Pre-Veterinary Society, a professional club focused on informing and preparing students for veterinary school, and helping them gain experience with a variety of animals and do service work.

She even launched a GoFundMe campaign for cats in need of enucleation (eye-removal surgery).

During the summer of 2017, Clark worked as a zookeeper at Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Maryland. That site is home to alpacas, black-backed jackals, giraffes, pygmy goats, Sicilian donkeys, zebra, umbrella cockatoos, alligators, pixie frogs and many other animals.

“My favorite memories were those spent with the African crested porcupines, Penny and Potter,” Clark said. “Every chance I got, I’d climb into their enclosure and call their names, which would lead to them running out from wherever they were napping. They’d climb into my lap and try and get as close to my face as possible to lick me while I laughed and tried to not get accidentally quilled.”

Clark could be spending her summer days with some different species in 2018. She’s applying to work at a shark research lab in the Bahamas, and she’s considered other opportunities as a rhino herder in Texas or a safari guide at a San Diego zoo.

“A lot of these places are willing to give room and board,” Clark said. “They want young researchers who don’t have biases.”

Outside of her work with animals, Clark works as a University of Maryland campus tour guide, a role that has helped her with her communication and people skills. She’s also a member of the Terrapin Trail Club, which features student-run activities like hiking, camping and canoeing.

Whether she’s doing shark research in the Bahamas, herding rhinos in Texas or heading off to Borneo, she’s keeping an open mind for whatever experiences become available.

“You have to have commitment, which means you may be living in the middle of the rainforest,” Clark said.


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