Why get into conservation?
Protecting the natural world is no small feat, as the people of this industry will attest. Whether it’s combating global warming, reducing the effects of deforestation, maintaining habitats or pretty much anything to do with preserving the planet, a career in this sector places you at the forefront of the fight to protect the environment. With governments around the world taking drastic steps to address environmental issues, there are more career opportunities than ever before.
What does conservation work involve?
Conservation is all about managing, protecting and developing the environment. Given the huge variety of environments and ecosystems in the world, there are many career opportunities across the globe. You could be solving the plight of fish populations in the Atlantic, dealing with deforestation in the Amazon or ensuring that the British people recycle more.
Most of the opportunities in this sector come from local authorities, environmental charities, the National Trust or individual wildlife trusts. There are also a number of government organisations that offer employment, such as Natural England.
Regardless of who you work for, don’t expect the big bucks! If you’re looking for fat pay packets and bonuses, this industry is certainly not for you. Your main motivation for working in this sector should be having a positive impact on the environment. If that isn’t motivation enough, it may be that you’re not suited to a career in conservation.
The main roles available in this sector are those of conservation officers, project officers, sustainability officers or biodiversity officers. Although a degree is not a pre-requisite for breaking into this line of work, a relevant degree (e.g. biology or environmental science) will enhance your chances.
The most important thing to acquire, however, is work experience. Employers will want you to demonstrate your passion and commitment to conservation and there is very little else that can better demonstrate this than appropriate work experience. Why not consider volunteering at local nature reserves, parks or other such sites?
What do conservationists do?
So what does a typical job in this subsector entail then? Whether you’re working in a park, a nature reserve or any other conservation area, your organisation will have various action plans that you will be entrusted with implementing.
You could be working out in the field and actively taking measures to protect the conservation area, educating the local community on how best to conserve their local environment or liaising with the local council, planners and developers on the most environmentally friendly methods of construction.
Depending on your organisation’s budget, you might be meeting with potential benefactors or submitting proposals for further funding from the government. Since a lot of the organisations that operate in conservation are not commercially inclined, there is a certain amount of reliance on public money and charitable donations.
Are you that person in the house that turns off the lights after everybody, and enforces recycling as though your life depends on it? If so, it would seem that you care a lot about the great world around us in all its natural glory, and good on you! Consider a career in conservation and make a real difference.