An Interview with WiseOceans…Hannah Harries from WiseOceans

An Interview with WiseOceans… Hannah Harries from WiseOceans

We are lucky to have a great team here at WiseOceans so we thought you would like to hear how some of our team got to where they are and to have a dream job as a Marine Educator with WiseOceans!

Name: Hannah Harries

Job Title: Marine Educator

Organisation: WiseOceans

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?

I grew up on the coast so spent my entire childhood fascinated by what could be found inside the rockpools and under the water. Hours spent turning over rocks on the beach and searching for seals in isolated coves definitely sparked a lifelong passion! I was lucky in that I knew from very early on what I wanted to do and I never considered anything other than working with marine life. The more I learnt about life under the sea, the more I realised how much there is left to learn about this amazing world, and how important it is to try and conserve it.

  • What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?

I always planned to study marine biology so spent my school years working to get the grades, particularly focusing on the sciences. Before university I took a year to travel Australia where I worked on dive boats and trained as a Divemaster. I spent a lot of time volunteering my time with various organisations, getting work experience and taking any opportunities that came my way to acquire training and expand knowledge. It really all comes down to hard work, perseverance and taking a proactive approach! I had to knock on a lot of doors and be speculative, but it’s worth it in the end!

  • How did you land your current job/position? 

I realised not long after graduating university that you don’t get very far without much experience under your belt. After some not so successful attempts to enter the field, I started volunteering with a local marine conservation organisation. After proving my dedication and commitment to the cause, I was given the opportunity to make it a full time role. Sea Trust monitor cetaceans in the Irish Sea, raise awareness of the marine life around the Pembrokeshire coast and are dedicated in getting local people interested and involved in their marine life. I learnt a huge amount during three years as part of the team and am forever grateful for the opportunity I was given upon graduating university. When funding for my post was coming to an end, I decided I was ready for a new challenge. I’d been following WiseOceans online since being in university when a friend introduced me to the jobs page of the website, and when the Marine Educator role was advertised I didn’t hesitate to apply!

  • Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

Anytime we spend in the water is amazing; every day we see new things and discover more about life in the bay at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles! The most rewarding part of my work has to be getting people in the water that are so scared they are almost flat out refusing to even give it a go. That moment when you first get them comfortable enough that they look at what’s in front of them and see their first fish, it’s priceless! To inspire people, of all ages, backgrounds and mindsets, and to spark an interest no matter how small, in caring for our oceans and all the incredible life within them is something that cannot be underestimated.

  • Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’? 

Working with children is something that always feels extremely worthwhile; the value of inspiring the next generation is so high. Here in Seychelles, we do a lot of community outreach, working with local schools, organisations and charities to promote the value of marine life. There is a lot of environmental education happening here on the islands which is amazing to be involved in! Taking people that grew up on the island into the ocean for the first time and showing them all the incredible things that are right on their doorstep is something really important to us. It definitely feels like making a difference, if local people can be inspired by their marine life then the chances of its conservation are so much greater! And if by doing that we can make a memorable experience for someone, then that is something super special. To make a difference within the local community will make a difference not only for Seychelles’ marine life, but for the country itself, and it’s people; something invaluable.

  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?  

I wish I’d known just how much more value experience holds over academic qualifications. It’s all about experience! As well as who you know; networking is crucial. I think being proactive is something that’s good to know when starting out and definitely do not be afraid to take a speculative approach.

  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?  

Communication and confidence are very important things to master, try to have faith in yourself and what you are capable of!

  • What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

NETWORK! Get out there and meet people. Put your name out and get in the loop. Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to keep knocking on doors. Work hard and put yourself out there to get as much experience as you can. And try everything, what’s the worst that could happen? Although it sucks when it happens, try not to be afraid of rejection, don’t let knock backs get you down, keep persevering and it will pay off. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for advice! We’ve all been there, so ask for help if you need it.

  • What is your favourite marine creature and why?  

There are so many amazing creatures it changes all the time! But my favourite to see within the bay here are the blue-green chromis. I love how these little damselfish liven up the reef with their feistiness.

  • What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?  

Again, there are so many to choose from! Being surrounded by a superpod of common dolphins in the middle of the Irish Sea was pretty special, or the first time I saw a turtle, diving in the Red Sea. Being eyeballed by an extremely inquisitive Minke whale off the Pembrokeshire coast a few summers ago has to be up there too!

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Thanks Hannah, some really great advice there, so true how important networking is and getting out there and getting involved.

Don’t forget to sign up to our weekly job alert emails and keep an eye on our Wise Work pages so you don’t miss your dream opportunity in more marine conservation.

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