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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Panda Ambassadors don't go it alone. You have the support of World Wildlife Fund and all your fellow Ambassadors to help cheer you along and offer resources and assistance. But if you're thinking you could use a closer collaborator in your conservation work, consider recruiting a friend to the program. Having a partner in conservation can make a huge difference in what you are able to accomplish, especially if your plans as a Panda Ambassador are on the ambitious side. Taking a solo lead on major community outreach and event planning is possible, but it's easier—and more fun—with a friend.
Tiffany Jones and Laura Miller are a Panda Ambassador team in Texas who have proven the benefit of working together. Laura joined the program in 2016, and then a couple of weeks later mentioned it to her friend Tiffany. "I told her about my experience with the program and then sent her the link to apply," Laura says.
Tiffany had already been looking for ways to help with environmental conservation, "so I was an easy target, I guess you could say," recalls Tiffany. "I think it took me maybe two days to go online and fill out the application."
Tiffany and Laura have accomplished a lot in their time as Panda Ambassadors, including staffing a booth at the Dallas EarthX conference on behalf of WWF and visiting an elementary school to talk about wildlife conservation. "As a busy young professional, taking on something like that alone may have been a bit daunting," says Laura. "Having a buddy let us play to our strengths, as well as coordinate our time to split up preparations, and it all came together beautifully!"
Panda Ambassadors who choose to work as a team have the opportunity to divide and conquer major tasks, pool their time and resources to take on bigger projects, take advantage of a wider networking and social circle, and bounce ideas off another person who is familiar with the local community. Tiffany says there's also "more of a comfort level because you know these people and you can collaborate on different ideas and things that you want to do."
Laura agrees. "In general," she says, "it's nice to have someone local to check in with, share encouragement, and find local ways to make an impact."
Recruiting a friend is also good for the health of the Panda Ambassador program as a whole. Panda Ambassadors already know the qualities it takes to be successful in the program—a passion for conservation, creativity, and a great work ethic—and can spot those qualities in other people. Word of mouth is an important source of referrals as WWF continues to expand the program. It's also perfectly fine to have two Ambassadors in the same school or small town. You can choose to work together on everything, join forces only for major events, or work independently, calling on each other for support.
In addition to the practical benefit of working with a partner on projects, Tiffany says working together is part of what the program is all about. "What the Panda Ambassador program represents is community," she says.
Panda Ambassadors who could use a little help from their friends are encouraged to spread the word to their environmentalist buddies, or to see if existing local Ambassadors want to collaborate. If you live in or near a major city, there's a good chance of finding other Panda Ambassadors nearby. "If you have a friend who shares your interest in wildlife and conservation," Laura says, "encouraging them to become a Panda Ambassador is a great way to amplify your voices, trade ideas, and band together for projects."