I have decided to start this blog having recently made a big career change from a city-dwelling PR guru to a novice naturalist! During this transition I have been looking for similar stories to inspire and motivate me. I haven’t found many so I wanted to give some advice and tell my story to those who are either thinking about a career change into conservation or just want to spend more of their free time volunteering with animals.
I will also be discussing conservation topics and sharing my experiences in the hope of encouraging others to protect our planet and its wild and domestic animals.
So how did I get here?
As a child, I grew up surrounded by animals and always wanted to be a vet (see below photo!) but I mistakenly believed I was not strong enough at Maths and Science to do it.
I therefore took a very different path, achieving a first class degree in Psychology from the University of Sheffield and going to work in a PR agency in London. I continued working for a variety of companies in communications for the next five years and despite learning a lot, I always knew my passion lay elsewhere.
So in January I decided enough was enough and it was time to focus full time on a career in conservation. It was (and still is!) a big risk but life is too short to not do something you love…so here goes.
I spent the next month desperately looking for jobs working with animals and realised slowly that it was not going to be as easy or as immediate as I perhaps first thought. After accepting that it would take some time, I decided to apply for volunteering roles to gain some experience. I applied to A LOT of roles and waited. It took another month for me to hear back from most places but I did eventually get some good news. I then selected a variety of roles to see which ones would interest me if I moved into that field. I started volunteering at a Zoo, volunteering for the Blue Cross and signed up for a month long volunteering expedition in South Africa (more details on that trip to come!).
After volunteering for a while and speaking with people in the industry, I realised that I wanted to focus my efforts on wild animal conservation and that I wanted some expertise under my belt.
I have to say this definitely isn’t the only route into conservation and can be expensive and time consuming but for me, I felt I needed to gain knowledge and expertise in animal biology so I began applying for a Masters degree. By some miracle, in May 2018, I received a place on my first choice course at the Royal Veterinary College to study Wild Animal Biology and I am very excited (and nervous!) to start in September. Watch this space to see how I get on…