By Amber Friedrichsen
When Cameryn Schafer adopted her pet chameleon, Spock, two years in the past, she left the pet retailer feeling misinformed. She began researching reptilian residing necessities and shortly realized she was caring for her color-changing companion all mistaken.
Schafer, senior in animal ecology, is enthusiastic about unique pets, which is why she established Spock’s Sanctuary. She and Cole Reiman (‘21 agricultural and life sciences training) opened this animal rescue operation at their house in Fontanelle, Iowa, to rehabilitate and rehome reptiles and amphibians that beforehand obtained insufficient consideration. Additionally they try to show pet homeowners about animal well being and welfare.
“We actually prioritize training and ensure individuals know what they’re stepping into after they undertake an animal,” Schafer stated.
A method she and Reiman talk their mission is thru public training. They provide shows about a few of their rescued topics at neighborhood occasions to advertise Spock’s Sanctuary and inform the viewers about correct pet administration, primarily for geckos, lizards and snakes.
Schafer additionally presents pet homeowners dietary recommendation to make sure animals are consuming appropriately. In actual fact, she has developed a line of pet meals known as Nutri-Cubes, that are pre-portioned servings of blended substances. Schafer initially began making these cubes for her personal lizard earlier than increasing her attain to the remainder of the unique pet trade.
“Nutri-Cubes will not be like something that at the moment exists in the marketplace,” Schafer stated. “The substances present all of the nutritional vitamins and minerals animals want from pure sources, and I’m engaged on refining my recipes so they’re particular to totally different species.”
Earlier than declaring a serious in animal ecology, Schafer studied dietetics and kinesiology. She stated studying about human physiology and evaluating it animal physiology has been instrumental to her invention of Nutri-Cubes.
Along with rescuing reptiles and consulting clients, Spock’s Sanctuary offers boarding companies. These short- and long-term care choices are particularly in style amongst faculty college students who take a semester off to work at an internship, full a co-op or research overseas.
Schafer attributes a big a part of her startup’s success to her involvement in Begin One thing Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This initiative throughout the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences helps college students with startups strengthen their enterprise fashions and scale their operations to worthwhile ranges.
As part of Begin One thing CALS, Schafer attends weekly conferences for the Scholar Incubator Program. There, she interacts with different scholar enterprise homeowners to ask questions on her personal endeavors and study from theirs. Schafer stated the group’s discussions typically result in breakthroughs and new concepts, and he or she appreciates the sense of neighborhood.
“To be in an area with different individuals who perceive what it’s like and are going by what you’re going by is very nice,” she stated. “We’re capable of give you options to one another’s issues due to our totally different views and experiences.”
Kevin Kimle, director of Begin One thing CALS, stated the Scholar Incubator Program was designed to mentor younger entrepreneurs with startup concepts or established small companies. He typically arranges visitor audio system to affix the group and provides recommendation to learn their companies, however typically college students like Schafer are those with essentially the most useful perception.
“Cameryn actually understands that a big a part of the entrepreneurial course of is supporting others,” Kimle stated. “She’s engaged on the frontline of this trending difficulty of rescuing reptiles, however she is all the time interested in what others are engaged on, too.”
Schafer additionally attends pitch competitions, networking occasions, and varied workshops by the Change-Maker Academy. This program inside Begin One thing CALS awards scholarships to college students to take part in least 10 of those on-campus alternatives through the college yr.
“Networking occasions are actually useful to study from individuals who have already made progress of their companies. Pitching has additionally helped me work out find out how to articulate my very own firm and what I do,” Schafer stated. “The scholarship is only a cherry on prime.”
She and Reiman have been additionally part of the 2022 CyStarters Cohort. This accelerator by Iowa State College’s Pappajohn Middle for Entrepreneurship is designed to assist college students advance their startups and increase their model identities. Throughout the 11-week program, they centered on bettering their advertising and marketing methods. At this time, Spock’s Sanctuary at the moment has an internet site, Fb web page, TikTok account (@Spocks.Santuary) and YouTube channel the place customers can search details about caring for lizards, geckos, snakes and extra.
Trying forward, Schafer desires to proceed to develop Spock’s Sanctuary and improve its capability to accommodate rescued animals. She can be wanting ahead to launching Nutri-Cubes, which will probably be in the marketplace as quickly as subsequent month.