An Interview with WiseOceans… Neil Garrick-Maidment from The Seahorse Trust
This week we are with Neil Garrick – Maidment, Executive Director at the Seahorse Trust. He recommends reading as much as you can on a wide range of subjects and to not narrow your focus on one subject area too early.
Name: Neil Garrick-Maidment
Job Title: Executive Director
Organisation: Seahorse Trust
What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I grew up in Torbay in Devon, England and in Malta and spent my life in, on or under the sea from a very young age.
What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
I work hard every day to learn more and to share this with others who are interested. I also read extensively in a wide range of subjects to look at the world in an holistic, rounded way.
How did you land your current job/position?
I set up the trust in 2000, having spent many years studying seahorses (41 years in total) and it was to bring together that knowledge and my love of the ocean to work with others and stive to do more for these amazing animals.
Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Being underwater watching seahorses and other species, I would live underwater given a choice.
Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
When I share my knowledge and enthusiasm.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I’m not sure but I still wish I knew why those in power do not do the jobs they are paid to do. It would make so much difference to the natural world.
Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Yes, many in particular diplomacy and tact!!
What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Do not focus in too narrow a field, think widely and read extensively in all fields. It is vital to know about everything rather than just your own particular field of specialism. Also never expect to be rich, if you hope to make money from it, then it is the wrong career for you
What is your favourite marine creature and why?
I have so many and seahorses are obviously high up on the list but having worked with a wide variety of species, from dolphins to seahorses, elephants to wolves, frogs to lizards it is difficult to pick one BUT I do love squirrel monkeys and they are quite a favourite.
What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
I have so many but being surrounded by many species of shark on a photographic expedition in the Sudan, including Tiger, Oceanic White Tip and Hammerheads and just thinking how stunning they all were is one. Seeing a Great White off the rocky shore in Malta (I was 15 feet away from her) when I was 14 and the first time I saw a seahorse in the wild.
Thanks Neil, you’ve given some sound advice there, we hope those readers, who are starting out on their career, find it useful too.
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