This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with Georgia Bennet, Native Oyster and Seagrass Restoration Assistant for The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Name: Georgia Bennett
Role: Native Oyster and Seagrass Restoration Assistant
Company: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Top Tip: Take any opportunities that come your way. Even if they are in a cold and muddy environment!
Quick Fire Questions
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
As a child I loved nature and spending time outdoors, wildlife always fascinated me and brought me so much joy, but it was always the ocean that I felt a strong connection to. I think it’s the degree of mystery that the marine world brings, it’s enigmatic and sometimes a bit frightening because we’re so out of our comfort zones there. Yet the ocean does so much for us and if we don’t protect it from ourselves then we could lose so much. How can we let a world that in many ways is so far removed from humans be destroyed by them?
2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
After graduating with a degree in marine biology, I worked on a few voluntary projects to gain experience and discover which area of marine science I was most passionate about. My career goals are to have a job which I feel passionate about and enjoy doing and one that also has a positive impact on the planet. In that respect, yes I have reached my career goals
3. How did you obtain your current position?
After years of applying for voluntary jobs and taking part in costed internships which added little to my skillset, I began traineeship at YWT. This was based at Spurn Point National Nature Reserve. It was through this traineeship that I became involved in seagrass and oyster restoration projects. During the internship I took every opportunity to work closely with the marine team and made myself available for any tasks. After my traineeship ended, I decided to stay on as a volunteer, and about a month later funding was allocated for an assistant to the project which I then applied for! It was through hard work and a desire to learn that I was able to secure the job I’m now in
4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Working out on the mudflats, you wouldn’t think mud could be beautiful but the way the light reflects off it, especially during a sunset, is so special. I enjoy spending so much time outdoors and being closer to nature
5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Definitely. Watching our juvenile oysters grow, knowing that one day they will be out there forming their own reef system is amazing. Also, seeing the newly planted seagrass seeds grow into plants, and hopefully soon seeing them expand into a meadow system is really exciting
6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Experience is everything! Get as much as you can and seek out opportunities, don’t just wait for them to come to you
7. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Resilience. This sector is so competitive that I took a lot of hits along the way and sometimes it’s difficult to just shake the rejection off and carry on. Also, being able to keep working hard and taking every opportunity available is so important
8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Embrace all marine environments, even the cold and muddy ones can be just as fun!
9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?
They may not be a creature as such but I love mangrove forests. Trees in the sea, how can you beat that!?
10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Snorkelling off the coast of a small Greek island, in amongst the most amazing underwater rock formations with cliff faces and small caves and crevices. You could see the thousands of layers forming the giants slabs of rock, each one teeming with marine life. It really gave me that perspective of ‘oh this is a completely different world’. I kind of felt like I was on my way to Atlantis
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