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Taxidermy course preserves student success

By Tikeyla Powell
RC Community College

AHOSKIE – Imagine not only being able to preserve animals, but your own success as well.

Brooke Harris is a 25-year-old bookkeeper living in Currituck, NC. Harris was born and raised in Currituck and has always been an avid hunter. She has had the opportunity to hunt and capture animals such as deer, duck, turkey, doves, and pretty much any wild animal out in the northeastern region of the state. With having such a great appreciation for the sport of hunting and a huge fascination with animals, Harris took interest in studying taxidermy at Roanoke Chowan Community College.

Harris had no prior taxidermy experience and wasn’t sure at all how to go about pursuing this career, thus she began her search for an opportunity that would provide her with the skillset she needed to start her own taxidermy business. First she tried reaching out to a local taxidermist.

“I was looking to work for something free, just to gain some hands on experience instead of watching videos,” she said.

The local establishments said they were too busy at the time to bring her in for any work. Staying dedicated to her passion, Harris joined a website forum – www.taxidermy.net – , that connected her to an instructor at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

Once contacted her new instructor, Harris began the enrollment process with R-CCC.

“The process was so easy, it was quick, it was efficient,” she noted.

Just like any new transition, Harris had to make adjustments. This new transition required a two-hour commute to R-CCC from her home once a week in order to complete the course. This says a lot about her dedication to herself, her passion, and her relationship with the R-CCC family.

“It was an incredible class, considering I had zero experience when I showed up there,” Harris stated. “At the end of the course I could flesh, do a whole skin mount, use the fish fill method, properly preserve my specimen, and even airbrush.”

The course is very active and requires the students to be hands on, which is vital in practicing taxidermy. The 10-week time span of the class allotted Harris and her classmates hands on access to quite a few animals,.

“By the end I had done two ducks, one fish, and a deer,” she exclaimed.

Harris also highlighted that her instructor was her best resource throughout the course, because she was provided with an excessive amount of information.

This course left a lasting impression on Harris.

“I wanted to cry when I left class, I was sad because we all learned so much – to see everyone’s mounts at the end – definitely made it worthwhile,” she said.

Overall, the two-hour commute for Harris was worth it all.   Having a limited amount of resources in her local area and not having the class offered at any nearby institution, she found her new home at R-CCC.

“I’m very thankful that I posted on www.taxidermy.net looking for taxidermy help, because if I didn’t I would of never known about this amazing class,” she stressed. “I didn’t mind making the two-hour drive from Outer Banks to school since no one near me offers any such classes, and other taxidermist didn’t seem that intrigued to teach me either. But I couldn’t be happier, I feel so excited to be starting a career in taxidermy and that I’ve learned from the best. I highly encourage anyone looking to pursue taxidermy either as a hobby or career to contact Roanoke-Chowan Community College.”

This course has afforded Harris with the tools needed to start her own taxidermy business in the near future.

R-CCC takes pride in increasing each student’s capacity for growth, instilling a growth mindset around the campus, and treating everyone as if they are a part of a family.

Anyone interested in Taxidermy, Roanoke Chowan Community College offers a Taxidermy Basics continuing education course that provides students with practical experience in the fundamental techniques of Taxidermy.

The course will begins Aug. 22 and will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-9 p.m. on R-CCC’s main campus.

Pre-registration can be completed online at www.roanokechowan.edu or at R-CCC campus. For more information, call 252-862-1307.