This month I am taking my Jan Term to the outdoors, and completing an independent study for my Communication Major. I will be completing my senior thesis in the Spring term. As part of my senior thesis, I will be documenting animals in several different animal facilities such as zoos or animal sanctuaries, and blogging about those animals and their back-stories. All animals get to an animal facility in different ways. Each animal has their own backstory regarding how they came to live in an animal facility. For my senior project, it is my goal to take photos of animals at each facility and through blogging inform the public about the animals and their individual back-stories. For example, sometimes animals are in zoos because they were rescued from mistreatment somewhere. I believe that people do not have enough facts about animals that we all share our planet with, so I hope to bring attention to animal endangerment, and animal extinction. In order to practice for my senior project, I am spending my Jan Term Independent Study focusing on animal photojournalism. I am learning about lighting, shadows, lens, and angles when using my camera. Taking photos of animals, especially when they are moving is very new to me, as the subjects I have taken photos of before were very still. I am working on learning how to capture an animal’s quick movements to capture a photo that provides the uniqueness of the animal. To practice my animal photojournalism, I have been exploring the Salem College campus in search of birds, cats, dogs, and squirrels, which Salem happens to be quite famous for. After all, Salem does have a stuffed plush squirrel for sale in our bookstore. You can hardly walk ten feet without seeing a squirrel on the Salem campus on any given day. I am very passionate about animal welfare, and educating others on ways to ensure animals are not harmed, endangered, and do not become extinct. I believe we live in a day and age where everything is automatically available to us. People may not take time to think about how everyday things they are doing, or things society is doing might negatively impact the welfare of animals. It is my goal that after this Independent Study, I will be able to take my photography to the next level along with my blog, and change the world, if only just a little bit, to improve animal welfare.