Occupation: Wildlife Projects Officer and Designer – Marine Conservation Society, student
Specialty: Understanding the interactions between people and marine turtles and designing resources that help people communicate complicated messages in an accessible way.
Best part about my job: So far the best parts of my job have involved the personal interactions with individuals and communities whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably linked with the marine environment. I have spent some of my most memorable and enjoyable times just listening to people piece together the details of their relationship with the resources they depend on…fascinating stuff.
Biggest challenges I face: Keeping my hand in while I raise my family is a pretty big challenge, but I try to make myself useful wherever I can. Bigger than that is the challenge of translating what I learn from people into positive action – for them and for marine the marine environment.
The most unusual or exciting thing that’s happened to me while working in the field: I shared the experience of seeing my first leatherback turtle with my brother and sister and their families on what must be one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world in northern Kwa Zulu Natal in my native South Africa. Seeing in people’s eyes that they understand why you do what you do is pretty exciting. As for unusual, I was once sitting in a train, trundling down the track from Colombo in Sri Lanka, thinking that the challenges we faced in working to set up a community based research and conservation project were insurmountable and that things couldn’t get any worse when, as if by magic, a banana peel flew in through the window of the moving train and hit me square in the face. Sometimes a banana peel in the face is exactly what you need to restore some perspective.
Why I like being a member of the MTSG: At the moment MTSG membership is a great way of staying linked in with the turtle world and contributing where I can.
Turtle researcher / conservationist I most admire: I admire people who keep at it for decades. I admire people who are not afraid to swim upstream. Most of all I admire all the people who have actually had to make changes to their way of life to conserve turtles.
When I’m not working on turtles I like to: Grin insanely with my new baby daughter, laugh uproariously with my three year old son, dream about the future with my husband, sleep, fantasise about having time to write and draw again…
Ten years from now, I hope I will be doing: Something interesting