I’m looking forward to speaking tomorrow on wildlife forensics and the economics wildlife trafficking at the American Museum of Natural History, It’s the second year I’ve participated in its After-School “Stealing Wildlife” course — and I’m always motivated by the enthusiasm of the students and the focus on this important topic.

I’ll be joined by Jessica Speart, who’s new non-fiction book, Winged Obsession, on the pursuit of the world’s most notorious butterfly trader, is coming out in April. She’s also author of a series of wildlife crime novels featuring fictional US Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Rachel Porter.

The course covers five important areas of illegal wildlife trafficking: biodiversity and conservation, law enforcement, forensics, trade, policy and ethics. Students are introduced to leading players of the wildlife trafficking enforcement world with guest talks, presentations, and demonstrations from authors, chefs, museum scientists, lawyers, and fashion designers. In addition, students use the techniques of forensic investigation: genetics, hair and feather identification to discover how officials stop illegal trade of plants and animals. With such a great group of speakers and courses planned, I have no doubt that students will come away with an appreciation of the immensity of the illegal wildlife trade, what is being done to stop it and how average citizens can help.