After three years working in the corporate environment of a Pharma company based in London, I felt it was time to get back out into the wonderful wide world and once again focus on my passion – conserving our amazingly beautiful and diverse planet. After struggling to find relevant work after completing my Masters in Biological Diversity I felt it was time to be responsible (ish). This meant finding a job that at least had some relevance to what I studied at university during my undergrad degree (Biology) whilst continuing the hunt for work in the field I was interested in. As enjoyable and interesting as it was working in the Pharma industry I knew it wasn’t truly for me. Following an “its now or never!” moment I decided that I really had to go for it and put everything into chasing my dreams, it's never too late! And so the journey begins, starting in the beautiful island of Mindoro, Philippines carrying out an internship with The Reef-World Foundation… My long-lived passion for the environment started as a young child when watching awe-inspiring documentaries. The weird and wonderful life in our vast and largely unstudied oceans, orang-utans in Borneo, lions and cheetahs in the Serengeti, birds of paradise in New Guinea had me hooked! I wanted to be the woman driving a Land Rover barefoot across the African bush looking and studying the multitudes of animals or spending days out at sea going on diving excursions to find a new species of fish or octopus, maybe not the part in front of the camera but definitely assisting with research/running of operations. I was fascinated by the differences in ecosystems and life found within them and dreamt of a job travelling the world and protecting these amazing habitats that can be found both above and below the sea.
As a child most holidays were spent playing and exploring in some form of water mass. Whether it was doing handstands with my sister in the sea or pool and seeing who could hold it the longest to taking every opportunity to go exploring and snorkelling in the ocean, making a mental note that the reef seemed to be far more beautiful last time we were in a regular holiday spot. So it seemed natural that although I was interested in both terrestrial and marine conservation, I focused my MSc dissertation on the marine side of things. In 2009 I spent a couple of months carrying out research on marine protected areas in Southern Leyte, Philippines for my final project.
To say I was excited to come back to the Philippines and carry out this internship would be an understatement. I have thought about this country a lot over the last few years and dreamt about submerging myself in the beautiful water’s surrounding it. To be back here working for such a brilliant organisation and with such passionate and determined people feels truly wonderful.
Five weeks in and I have already learnt a lot; I have been fortunate enough to attend a meeting with the Provincial Governmental in Batangas regarding further Green Fins activities in the local area; met inspiring people from various organisations and had my eyes opened to different ways of thinking by those around me. I have always been very environmentally minded and was always keen to do ‘my bit’ no matter how small the outcome or impact and have encouraged others to do the same. However my dedication and passion to educate others to play their part in protecting their environment, what ever scale this may be on; be it as a diver carrying out good ‘Green Fins’ diving practices, saying no to plastic bags, disposing of rubbish in the correct manner or choosing responsibly sourced fish has already increased massively. I feel I am already walking around with a new set of eyes and picking up on things that I may not have done previously and looking at things in a more detailed way again.
I’d love for you to join me on this exciting journey over the next few months and hopefully I’ll be able to provide you with further insight into this field, some interesting snippets of information and a few laughs along the way.