Being somewhere like Brackenhurst Campus, surrounded by people who had similar interests in such a beautiful place really helped to build my confidence.
More about Connel
Graduating from NTU in 2013 with a BSc (Hons) in Wildlife Conservation, Connel is currently working as a Wildlife Education Manager at Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society in Canada, whilst educating others about conservation and wildlife through his blog, which was highly commended by the BBC in their Wildlife Blogger of the Year awards.
Alongside this he has won an Outstanding Youth Leadership award from the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, and was included in Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 in 2017.
Here’s what he had to say about his time at NTU, getting into the conservation sector, and what his current job entails:
What does your average day at work look like?
“I am currently working as the Wildlife Education Manager at Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society. As the Wildlife Education Manager, I am in charge of running wildlife education programming on Vancouver Island and also of developing the organisation on the island. I spend most of my time in the field presenting the wildlife education programmes, which can take place in schools, community centres or outside at local, regional and national parks. These programmes are free, and I manage to reach thousands of people every year.
“The great thing about my job is that it is very flexible, which means I can work on conservation projects at the same time. Some of the conservation projects I am involved with are monitoring migratory songbirds and owls through ringing, conducting endangered species surveys and some orca conservation projects. I have even been able to attend CITES in South Africa, working with others to address the huge issue of wildlife trade.
“There is also a lot of administration involved, which is not always very glamorous, but it has to be done. This includes completing grant applications for funding, writing reports or results from surveys and planning presentations and workshops. The great thing about conservation is that there are so many aspects and areas you can go into.”
How did your time at NTU help you get where you are now?
“I loved studying at Nottingham Trent University. I am still friends with a lot of the people I met there, and being somewhere like Brackenhurst Campus, surrounded by people who had similar interests in such a beautiful place really helped to build my confidence. The course also allowed me to take a sandwich year, where I got to go and work in conservation and learn about what it takes to work in the field. From this I was pretty much able to have a job lined up during my final year. I felt as though my experience at NTU helped ease me into the world of work.”
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into your field of work?
“The best advice I can think of if you want to work in wildlife and conservation is to get out there, get your hands dirty and give things a go. Employers want to see that you have a genuine interest and that you have shown initiative. I have volunteered in conservation since the age of 14, and it is the best thing I have done as it opened so many doors for me. There are loads of volunteer opportunities all over the country and beyond, but also lots in Nottinghamshire that you can do whilst studying.
"“The best advice I can think of if you want to work in wildlife and conservation is to get out there, get your hands dirty and give things a go."
“Make contacts, network and take every opportunity you can get. Also, don’t be afraid to ask. I managed to get several opportunities by simply asking- this included working for six months researching orcas! A lot of the time people are afraid to ask for things, but if you are polite, passionate and know what you want, then the worst someone can say is no.
“Wildlife is not always the easiest career to pursue, but if you are passionate the possibilities are endless, there are so many incredible opportunities in the UK and beyond.”
Visit Connel's blog at www.talkofthewild.net.