Why I’m Getting Starbucks on Valentine’s Day

This article on the National Gun Victim’s Action Council (NGVAC)’s proposed boycott on Starbucks is quickly spreading through Facebook and Twitter. The advocacy group wants stricter gun laws in the US. Starbucks allows open- and concealed-carry of handguns in states that allow it. Starbucks has been asked and petitioned to ban the carrying of guns in their stores but they continue to stand by their policy of allowing legal carry of firearms, and reminding people that the focus of the company is to run coffee stores, not write legislature. The NGVAC is proposing a boycott of Starbucks starting February 14 to show their desire for the company to ban guns in stores. They even use the photo at the top of this post to show what a group of open-carry advocates look like and then reference the gun that the Tuscon shooter used in the mass shooting last year. Now I don’t know about you but in my eyes there is a HUGE difference in the men peacefully gathered in that photo and the mentally-ill shooter that targeted congresswomen Giffords at that Safeway. The Outdoor and Women’s Outdoor Sports blogs I follow have been talking about this boycott and suggesting that we, as a community of people who enjoy shooting sports and the right to carry, should in fact support Starbucks as they stand by second-amendment rights.  We should not let fear overtake common sense.  I took a minute to contact Starbucks and literally all I wrote in the comment box was “Thank you for supporting second amendment rights and my right to carry and protect myself!” I was surprised but happy to see this email show up in my inbox the next day:

Dear Christine,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

Thank you for your feedback regarding Starbucks’ policy on open carry laws.

At Starbucks, we deeply respect the views of our customers and recognize that there is significant and genuine passion surrounding the issue of open carry weapons laws. We comply with local laws and statutes in the communities we serve. Our long-standing approach to this issue remains unchanged and we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states. Where these laws don’t exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is prohibited.

As the public debate around this issue continues, we encourage customers and advocacy groups from both sides to share their input with their public officials. We are extremely sensitive to the issue of gun violence in our society and believe that supporting local laws is the right way for us to ensure a safe environment for both partners and customers.

If you have any further questions or concerns that I was unable to address, please feel free to let me know.

Warm Regards,

Kelsey F
Customer Relations
Starbucks Coffee Company
800 STARBUC (782-7282)
Monday through Friday, 5AM to 8PM (PST)

Well said, Starbucks. Oon February 14, I will treat myself by going to Starbucks on the way to work to get my favorite drink, Iced Vanilla Latte.  If you are a supporter of the right to carry, I hope you will too.

Why I Hunt

This trophy is not why I hunt.

I hunt to be closer to the earth that supports my life. I hunt because I have a deep appreciation of the meat I’m eating when I’ve taken the animal myself. I hunt because I want to know where my food came from and how far it traveled to get to my plate. I hunt because I know that the deer, hogs, and birds I kill lived wild and free, died quickly, and were treated with respect. And lastly, I hunt because it’s exciting and it’s something that brings my husband and I closer together.

How I Got Here

This post was inspired by Rachel’s post “Evolution of a Field Biologist” on her blog: http://flyingcypress.blogspot.com/

Growing up, when people asked me “What do you want to be?” I always answered with either veterinarian or artist. I’ve always been in love with dogs and animals but I’ve also always been in love with art and drawing. In high school I fell in love with drawing fashion. I filled sketchbooks full of clothing ideas. I decided, some time around 10th grade, I wanted to be a fashion designer. The summer after 11th grade my mom actually brought me to New York City to visit and have an interview/portfolio judging with Pratt Art Institute (my mom is indeed pretty awesome, more about that in another post). I was accepted to Pratt but because it isn’t a public university there wasn’t much room for federal aid and we decided it would be best for me to stay home and go to LSU. Also in my 11th grade year I started work under the best boss I’ve ever had, a veterinarian. While working at the vet I decided I would like to go to vet school and on my Freshman Orientation day at LSU I changed my major from Fashion Design to Natural Resource Ecology and Management (with a concentration in wildlife and a plan to go to vet school).

My first Natural Resources class was RNR 1001 and the professor’s passion and knowledge (as well as my first scuba diving trip) made me decide I wanted to be a fisheries major! After seeing coworkers at the vet try and try to get into vet school I decided I didn’t want the stress they were going to. Fisheries became my new fascination and I also began taking Oceanography classes which got me interested in environmental science.

After my freshman year I left LSU to go to University of New Orleans to study environmental science and policy. You know, change-the-world kind of stuff. Unfortunately, I only attended UNO for a week… then Hurricane Katrina shut everything down. I spent the next year at community colleges and decided I did not want to return to New Orleans. I went back to Fisheries at LSU. What a GREAT decision that was!

After working at the vet for 5 years I decided to leave to work for LSU Fisheries and get more experience in the field. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in fisheries but I knew one thing, I didn’t want to study inverts, which was a huge part of fisheries science. Working for the fisheries grad students also got me interested in going to grad school but getting my Master’s was something I never really thought of myself doing. But as the semesters went on and my relationships with my professors strengthened I found out that grad school was going to be the perfect fit for me. I dropped the fisheries concentration to get some more wildlife classes and began searching for a graduate position. After almost a year of searching I found a long-shot position studying elk in Arkansas utilizing GIS. I’d never even had a GIS class before but I love elk so much so I applied. And amazing, I was selected for the grad job!

Now, 2 years after that, I am finishing up on my thesis project and about to marry a man I met in grad school. My future career is completely open right now but I’ve never been more excited about the possibilities. I will still be working on my research and thesis throughout the summer while searching for a job. I’m still in love with art and expend my creative energy by crafting and wildlife pencil drawings. All of these past decisions and circumstances brought me here and I couldn’t be happier with where I am. And thank goodness I didn’t go to Pratt!