This week we chat to…our very own Jonathan Fry from WiseOceans. Jon is part of our team in Seychelles and has had some fantastic experiences working in marine conservation all over the world. His advice is to take some time to volunteer, it’s a great way to develop your knowledge, to network, and to make amazing memories.
Name: Jonathan Fry
Job Title: Marine Educator
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
As far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the ocean. In fact, one of my earliest memories is snorkelling somewhere in Greece; I remember floating on the surface looking down at the underwater world and being completely mesmerised by the marine life swimming by.
I probably inherited my interest in marine biology from my mum, who still enjoys watching documentaries and has a nice collection of books on sharks – Including one of my old favourites ‘The Shark’ by Jacques Cousteau.
Oh, and I definitely have to give some credit to the kids tv show ‘Captain Planet’, and the movie ‘FernGully’ for kickstarting my interest in conservation at a young age.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
To start with, I studied Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at Plymouth University. After this I knew I still had a lot more to learn, so I undertook an internship with a reef restoration project in Madagascar, where, among many other things, I learned to SCUBA dive, and how to conduct reef surveys. The next stop on my path to a career in conservation was an internship with an eco-friendly resort in the Maldives whose commitment to preserving the natural environment showed me that there could be a symbiotic relationship between tourism and conservation.
Still wanting to learn more I headed to Malaysia where I worked with various organisations on some of the smaller islands. First with a turtle conservation project, then a research station, and finally another resort. There are so many facets to marine conservation, and I knew it would be important to gain as much experience as possible.
- How did you land your current job/position?
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Absolutely! When it comes to conservation, the key to success is education. As a marine educator I have the opportunity to help people of all ages understand and appreciate the complexity and importance of our oceans.
As Baba Dioum said, “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught”.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
That the path to a career in conservation can be long and at times expensive, so be patient and spend wisely.
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Really take the time to think about what you want out of life. Set yourself goals and then figure out how to make them happen.
Getting a degree in marine science is great, but it’s just one of many ways to get your foot in the door. Conservation requires input from people from all walks of life, so no matter your background there’s always a way to get involved. Also, volunteer! It’s a great way to develop your knowledge, to network, and to make amazing memories.
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Thank you Jon for these great insights, you can find out more about our exciting conservation and education programmes in Seychelles here.