A Hunger Games analogy to entering the conservation field.

There is still a wider gap in empowering young man and women who are aspiring to be wildlife conservationists and ecologists globally especially in African developing countries.

Can we conclude that this crises cannot be resolved? It is really hard to find a paid internship in the conservation field instead most internships requires a student to pay,furthermore in entry level positions,3-5 years experience is required. How then can freshly conservation graduates enter into the field. It seems there is poor investment in the field,poor governmental policies and funding. There is need for organisations globally that supports freshers in wildlife conservation and ecology and create more job oppprtunities.


Thank you @Marrian Tendai Rwizi for interviewing WildHub member, @Brian Heppenstall on his insights about career, teaching, and the obstacles behind gaining experience. Your questions bring up such important points that still need to be addressed in conservation. I know I want to be apart of groups (organizations) that are improving equity and access. Well done!

Go to the profile of Marrian Tendai Rwizi
28 days ago

Hello everyone,this is my first interview per se,your support is greatly appreciated

Go to the profile of Thirza Loffeld
27 days ago

I love this interview; once I started watching it I wanted to listen in on your valuable conversation till the end.@Marrian Tendai Rwizi You clearly are a talented communicator; congratulations on doing an amazing first interview.@Brian Heppenstall : Always inspiring to hear your insights, thanks you for sharing those with the rest of our community and love the analogy of The Hunger Games, I couldn’t agree more. 

I look forward to reading how others view the opportunities of entering into a conservation career. Any thoughts on this@Moreangels Mbizah ,@Aiita Joshua Apamaku ,@Merlyn Nomusa Nkomo ,@Dominique D'Emille,@Dominique Bikaba ,@David Kabambo Kabambo 

Go to the profile of Thirza Loffeld
27 days ago

Also linking into this important conversation (please share with us your valued thoughts)@Ronnie Sibanda@Ryan Truscott@Sandra Masike ,@Sandra Zenda ,@Diane Skinner ,@Loswitha Murugani@Bhekilizwe Zwelinjani - thank you in advance for your insights on this topic. 

Go to the profile of Aiita Joshua Apamaku
27 days ago

Thanks so much for this awesome piece @Marrian Tendai Rwizi and @Brian Heppenstall, so insightful! 

Indeed, drawing from personal experiences in the sector, I can attest to that. Equity also still remains a huge barrier to fostering wildlife conservation especially in developing countries across Africa. Consequently, we still see business oriented conservation. A moment to revisit our wildlife conservation policies to ensure equity and accessibility- a value I strongly stand for and always want to contribute to!  

Go to the profile of Marrian Tendai Rwizi
12 days ago

Thank you Aiita, your contribution is greatly appreciated. If you know any  conservation initiatives,ideas, please feel free to share

Go to the profile of Frank van der Most
26 days ago

Thank you so much, @Marrian Tendai Rwizi  and @Brian Heppenstall for this interview. Recently, I noticed to my surprise how many NGOs want volunteers to pay to volunteer their time (and I am leaving costs for lodging and living out of this). Now you are telling me it is the same for internships, which are supposed to be like real jobs. I would not take any job for which I had to pay. I mean what is the point?? One does real work for them and probably not a little, so I don't see how the NGO can justify that having you doing work for them actually costs them more than what your work brings in.

It is unlikely that NGOs do not know this, so we need to know why they are doing it anyways. To me it seems they are desperate for resources, but there must be more to it.

Go to the profile of Marrian Tendai Rwizi
12 days ago

I think conservation jobs must be valued, same as the medical field etc. Because thats where we are going,climate change is real!  T he majority of the people especially from where I come from have little to no knowledge on the importance of conservation and the ecosystem at large . However I think it all begins with the mindset,involvement of the local people at large and maybe introduce ecology and conservation from kindergarten. There is also the need to find a pulling factor to the field of conservation especially to this young generation who are the leaders of tomorrow.

Thank you @ Frank van der Most,for your contribution.

Go to the profile of Ussi Abuu Mnamengi
25 days ago

Great interview! Thanks Marrian and Brian for sharing.

Go to the profile of Brian Heppenstall
24 days ago

Thank you so much for your time and questions @Marrian Tendai Rwizi it is important to talk about our perspectives of employment, and experiences within the industry and to challenge and be challenged on these if we are to expect positive change!

Go to the profile of Jon Fisher
15 days ago

Great interview! I've never paid to volunteer, but have done a lot of no-pay and very low pay labor, but also managed volunteers and junior staff. I can say that at least some environmental NGOS are ending unpaid internships given the equity concern (only people with parental support can afford to take them). It's hard to find the right approach with volunteers and very junior staff sometimes. Unless they are either doing unskilled labor or comfortable trying things and working fairly independently, it can sometimes take more time to train them than they save by doing the work. That's no excuse for expecting people to do what should be paid work for free though! I would just encourage people with no experience looking to build it to be open to both 1) experimenting and learning on the job as opposed to being given a lot of guidance up front (it is uncomfortable but helps you learn better) and 2) potentially staying in an entry level position or even volunteer role for a year or two (this will help your supervisor see that it's worth spending their time to invest in you). I've had some 'volunteers' openly say that they wanted me to provide (free) training to them for a few months after which they would move on, which is not very appealing! Best of luck to all.

Go to the profile of Michael Cunningham
12 days ago

I think its excellent that we have a platform like WildHub so we can conduct these recorded conversations and share them. Thank you @Brian Heppenstall & @Marrian Tendai Rwizi It was great to hear about your roles in Europe and Africa. Thanks to @Thirza Loffeld for all your hard work! 

I loved the way you gave responsibility to the students and that ownership of a project really helps! 

I think most people on here will feel the same and I certainly feel that as I volunteered for many years before getting paid roles that this should not be the way. It's getting people to take the natural world more seriously by demanding better paid roles. 

That's one of the reasons we started 9Trees and our 3 pillars are Wildlife & Environment / Countryside Jobs / Wellbeing & Mental health.

It is hard running a grassroots Non profit and we have all been volunteers and had the help of experts Pro-Bono. We have been paying from the ground up, paying for the materials to plant woodland, conservation Tree planters (who plant with an 80% survival rate, and we pay to replant for the first 3 years any losses).

People who join us usually take about 6 months to really get to know their role, by then we either start paying them as a contractor, like our Office manager (volunteered for 6 months), our Blog Co-ordinator and Web Developer (volunteered for 8 months) and we also now pay for a Landowner and contractor manager (volunteers 20% ongoing) We pay at a discounted rate for PR and now have started to pay minimum wage to management. We are also paying for Social media on an ad hock basis.

As time goes on we aim to be paying the living wage in the UK so its in all of our interests to make 9Trees work, whilst creating biodiverse woodlands across the UK. 

We have space for more people to come on board and people either stay with us or they get jobs as they have gained experience. We have had help from all across the world, from Corporate fundraisers, Grant writers. We cannot say volunteers will get a role, however everyone knows for every hour put in we are creating the jobs of the future! if not for you for your colleagues.

There is probably loads I am not communicating effectively but it's built into our official documents as a CIC; Community Interest Company. We give back.

Mike C

Go to the profile of Marrian Tendai Rwizi
12 days ago

You are really doing a good job Michael!