This week we chat to…Corinne Wolstenholme from Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife. Like many, Corinne volunteered with organisations to gain practical experience, skills and contacts but she points out that it is important to maintain these contacts – you never know when they will come in handy!
Name: Corrine Wolstenholme
Job Title: Sea Seal Volunteer
Organisation: Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife
What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I have always had a passion for the sea and conservation of sharks specifically. Studying Coastal Marine Biology helped develop a deeper love and understanding of the importance of conservation of the many different organisms and marine habitats around the world.
What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
I have obtained a degree in Coastal Marine Biology, I interned with a shark conservation organisation in South Africa last July and have been volunteering as a seasonal living seas volunteer as the centre’s sea seal volunteer at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre since March 2019.
How did you land your current job/position?
My previous experience using photos and videos to analyse behaviour of sharks and my general scientific background through completing a degree gave me the experience the organisation required of someone in my post.
Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
The Seal Surveys on Bird Rock, New Quay, Wales. I conduct them independently, photographing any Atlantic Grey Seals I see during the survey to ID them and add any newly photographed seals to the catalogue later on
Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Public engagement helps us understand how easy it is to gain the attention of those who would otherwise be none the wiser of our work and the importance of conservation. Both talking to the public on surveys as well as on specifically organised events and activities encourages the public of all ages to get involved and further educated.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
No matter your experience it is possible to help in a voluntary capacity with marine conservation.
Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Admin and customer service skills, these I developed working in hospitality and have found it has been essential in this role.
What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Take every opportunity that comes your way, network, maintain contacts because you never know where the next career step may come from.
What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Great White Shark because they are extremely misunderstood by humans and are fascinating and intelligent. A key species in the food chain
What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Snorkelling with Dusky, Blacktips and Bull sharks in South Africa as part of our research into the environmental factors influencing where they were found
Thank you Corinne. Snorkelling with all those sharks must have been quite the experience!