Belize Zoo owner speaks on campus

Belize Zoo owner speaks on campus

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Megan Riley / The Arbiter

On Tuesday, Boise State hosted Sharon Matola, subject of the 2012-2013 campus read, “The Last Flight of the Scarlett Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most
Beautiful Bird.”

“I got to spend the day with her,” Carrie Moore, Boise State librarian, said. “I think she’s absolutely wonderful, a very engaging, inspiring person; a woman who shares her experiences in a very laid back, conversational way.”

Matola participated in many activities during her stay on campus.

These activities included a question-answer session with the Honors College, breakfast with President Bob Kustra and lunch with select students from University Foundations classes who have been studying the campus read book.

“She got to ride in the football helmet golf cart and she thought that was fantastic, I think one of her highlights of the day,” Moore said. “She’s been excited to meet and share her story with everyone.”

Before she gave her speech, Matola ate dinner with a few students and faculty, including ASBSU President Ryan Gregg.

“When you talk to Sharon you really realize that she’s a person who is very thoughtful and she really cares about what you’re saying,” Gregg said. “You can tell that she cares a lot about the things that she wrote about, and that she continues to write about.  You can tell that she cares about the Belize Zoo a lot, and about the Macaw population.”

During the question-answer session with the Honors College, students asked question and discussed many issues with Matola.

“It was cool to see how passionate she is about animals,” said freshman Shelby Butts. “She seems like a very genuine person and it was interesting to find out that she actually has not read the final copy of the book.”

Some of the students expressed that Matola was much different in real life than they thought she would be like after reading the book.

“She is very different than the way Bruce Barcott portrayed her to be, she’s way more introverted, and really quiet,” said Sarah Rehn, freshman chemistry major. “Bruce Barcott portrayed her to be this really loud, extroverted person, and she’s not like that at all.”

At one point during the question-answer session, students had an opportunity to teach Matola a few things about wildlife conservation in Idaho.

“She asked us about if we had any similar issues going on in the U.S., particularly in Idaho, and we talked about the situation in Idaho with the wolves,” said freshman Ben Blake. “She was really unaware of that situation, so it was a chance for us to inform her about something, which was a very unique opportunity.”

At times, Matola seemed to be as interested in learning and listening to the students as she did about teaching and speaking.

“She seemed really genuine, that she really wanted to talk with us and learn about us as much as she wanted to share with us what she was doing,” Gregg said.

Bruce Barcott, the author of “The Scarlett Macaw” will speak at Boise State on March 5, 2013.