A Day in the Life

March 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm 1 comment

A unique look at what it’s like to be a public relations professional at natural history museum.

Almost as often as I see jaws drop as visitors encounter the world’s largest dinosaurs at Fernbank, I witness a similar reaction when they learn I’ve been working here almost 15 years. I like to pretend it’s because I look young for my age, but the reality is that many people don’t stay committed to a job so long any more. Yet at Fernbank, the time has flown by because I am constantly learning new things, experiencing incredible exhibitions, understanding the world around me, interacting with educators and visitors, and meeting some of the most incredible people in the world.

Over the years, I’ve spent time with many of the fascinating stars and directors of IMAX films while accompanying them on media interviews, including David Breashears of Everest, Dr. Jane Goodall of Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees, Robert Lacey of Arabia, Tim Liversedge of Roar: Lions of the Kalahari, and Dr. Josh Wurman and Sean Casey of Tornado Alley.

Just this week I was lucky enough to spend some time at CNN International with Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, the world-renowned primatologist and orangutan authority whose rescue efforts are featured in the IMAX® film Born to be Wild. She is an incredible woman on so many levels. A true pioneer, she moved to live in the jungle wilderness of Borneo more than four decades ago after successfully persuading Dr. Louis Leakey to back her research. At the time she said there were no telephones, no electricity, no roads, and no connection to the outside world other than a plane that arrived once a week (and sometimes once every other week).

Since then, she’s successfully rescued and rehabilitated orphaned orangutans while working hard to protect their habitat. She says palm oil production is a big culprit of the diminishing habitats of orangutans there. I decided right then and there to try to avoid foods containing palm oil when I can. I was amazed that I could already be inspired to take action by being in her presence for only a few minutes. In an interesting turn of events, as I was sitting across from her, captivated by her work, her accomplishments and what it must be like to live so closely with nature, she asked me a question.

“Where is the most exotic place you’ve traveled?”

I knew my answer would never come close to her fascinating experiences, but she was truly curious. I told her Costa Rica, and was taken aback when she said she’d never been! But later, as I thought more about the question, I realized that I’ve traveled to the depths of the sea, the top of the world, into space, alongside wild animals, on African safaris and so much more through the amazing experience of IMAX films.

—Brandi Berry, Director of Public Relations

Here’s a clip of her appearance on CNN International.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Emily  |  March 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    What a cool look at what you do, thank you so much for the insight! I volunteered at Fernbank for four years and am currently a public relations major, and I’ve noticed that potential employers are very interested in the work I did there. Fernbank is such an interesting, engaging place and I’m very grateful for the number of fantastic people I met. I can only imagine how neat it is to actually do PR there! I’m definitely most jealous of meeting Jane Goodall :)

    Reply

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About

At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and IMAX® films. Even with our Web site, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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