An Interview with WiseOceans…Team members from Island Conservation Society

An Interview with WiseOceans… Team members from Island Conservation Society 

This week we chat with some staff members and volunteers at Island Conservation Society. Their advice is to work hard and gain practical skills like boat maintenance alongside many other skills. 

Names: Jean Claude Camille (Conservation Ranger), Matthew Morgan (Conservation Officer) and Sebastian Contorot (Island Conservation Volunteer)

Organisation: Island Conservation Society

What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?

  • Jean – A love for nature and wanting to contribute towards conservation after working with Jeanne Mortimer (turtle conservationist).
  • Matt – A life-long interest in marine life and recognising that I would like to spend my time preserving it.
  • Sebastian –  My love for animals, especially those in Seychelles.

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

  • Jean – Volunteering on D’Arros Island and Silhouette Island, also taking training courses in plants, seabird, diving and boat handling.
  • Matt – A cominbantion of academic and practical experience includng BTEC Diploma and BSc followed by working with NGOs and undertaking relevant training courses.
  • Sebastian – Volunteering

How did you land your current job/position? 

  • Jean – After volunteering for 12 years.
  • Matt – Following 2 years of conservation work with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
  • Sebastian – I visited Desroches on a week long trip with the Eco School programme, after that I want to return and help with the conservation work so I asked if I could volunteer.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

  • Jean – I really enjoy turtle patrol.
  • Matt – I enjoy the diversity, along with the sense of achievement I get from all tasks.
  • Sebastian – No specific part, I enjoy all parts of the job.

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

  • Jean – Every aspect of my work makes a difference.
  • Matt – Yes, when collecting data for all projects; turtle, elasmobranch, fish, and many more. When databases are shared with other NGOs to inform conservation management decisions.
  • Sebastian – Beach cleaning

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

  • Jean – My knowledge which I have now.
  • Matt – Always keep a camera with you.
  • Sebastian – Not to leave your flip flops after measuring turtle tracks on the beach!

Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?

  • Jean – Yes a lot, for example, boat handling, tagging turtles there is lots.
  • Matt – Yes, boat handling, compressor maintenance and many more.
  • Sebastian – Cycling and boat servicing!

What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists? 

  • Jean – Work hard, and you will achieve your goals.
  • Matt – To work hard, and not get frustrated with the many obstacles which obstruct conservation objectives. “It’s better to light a candle, then curse the darkness”.
  • Sebastian – Learn how to ride a bicycle to help get to remote areas and don’t forget items on the beach!

What is your favourite marine creature and why?  

  • Jean – Turtles, because I quit my job to help them recover.
  • Matt – This is a very difficult decision, but probably a Coelacanth. I enjoy the history of this species and the links it has to marine creatures becoming terrestrial.
  • Sebastian – The lobster, because it has a lot of armour but is a gentle giant.

What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?  

  • Jean – After my first dive at ‘Tunnel’ dive site located on Desroches Atoll.
  • Matt – Encountering a Silky Shark around a FAD.
  • Sebastian – When I fell off the boat after a fishing trip!

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Thank you to the team at Island Conservation Society for this insight into your experiences working in Seychelles and your journey to working your dream job!

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 marine conservation.

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