Show cover of Conservation Careers Podcast

Conservation Careers Podcast

Nick Askew from Conservation Careers uncovers what it's like to work in wildlife conservation. He explores how to get a conservation job, and discusses the latest industry news, by speaking to professional conservationists who share their career stories and advice. So if you want the inside scoop on the life of a professional conservationist and their industry, are feeling lost in your conservation job hunt and need some direction, or wanting to switch careers into conservation but don't know where to start - this is the podcast for you! Conservation jobs, conservation volunteering, conservation internships, conservation careers, conservation news, conservation stories. Check us out at to find the most conservation jobs and the best conservation careers advice.


Megan Cromp | Key Conservation
Have you ever had an idea that you think is great and wish you'd done something about it? Well, today's guest is making her great idea for helping individuals to take action on a global scale a reality. Megan Cromp is Director of Key Conservation, which is seeking to help conservationists gain critical funding and global support through a mobile app that provides real time updates on day-to-day campaigns. It's in the final stages of development and planned for a global launch in early 2023, but Key is really set to be a game changer for small conservation organisations, and people seeking to share their time, their skills and their money. In this episode we talk about the issues that Key is seeking to resolve, and also how Megan has taken a good idea and is turning it into reality. It's a wide-ranging, app-developing, conservation-impacting episode. Enjoy.
39:31 09/27/2022
Kate Evans | Elephants for Africa
In this episode we’re speaking with Dr Kate Evans - Founder and Director of Elephants for Africa.  She is an award-winning behavioural ecologist and conservation biologist, with over 25 years of experience in running wildlife research and conservation projects.  Since establishing the charity Elephants for Africa in 2007, Kate has been responsible for funding their applied research, education, and community development projects throughout southern Africa.  Through this she’s secured over £1,500,000 from trusts, foundations, corporate sponsorships (including Hugo Boss), private donors, online campaigns and events.  In this podcast we talk about her journey to establish Elephants for Africa and what she’s learnt along the way. We also discuss the impact elephants have on local communities, and how they can both exist more peacefully.  We also chat about the importance of fundraising as a core skill all aspiring and professional conservationists should develop. Finally, we announce that Kate will be the course leader for our latest training called Fundraising for Conservation Projects.  As always, it’s a fun, informative and inspiring chat. Enjoy. 
42:27 09/07/2022
Podcast | Jade Brudenell | Conservation Collective
When wildlife is in decline the world over, how do we raise more funds for conservation, and ensure these funds are spent to have the greatest impact locally? Today’s guest thinks she has found the answer. Jade Brudenell is the Executive Director of the Conservation Collective, an organisation with a mission to increase the amount of funding available for the most effective front-line nature restoration initiatives. They do this by connecting donors with a close affinity to a specific location, with local foundations who then re-grant the funding to grass-roots conservation initiatives to protect the environment, restore nature and safeguard against climate change. It’s an innovative, scalable and exciting model. During the podcast Jade tells us the story of Conservation Collective, and how they are securing new funds within the sector to create impact. We also discuss the importance of fundraising skills within the sector, along with her career story and what she looks for when hiring new staff. It’s a wide-ranging, fascinating and honest discussion about one of the most important issues facing conservationists. Enjoy.
41:42 09/07/2022
Elena Zurli from Environmental Grants
To have an impact as a conservationist, you need fundraising skills in order to turn your ideas into reality.  In a sector dominated by charities, the majority of conservation projects are therefore funded by donors, who provide an estimated 90 billion pounds in funding each year.  These include large grants secured from governments, foundations and corporate sponsors to smaller donations via public campaigns, appeals, events, membership drives and more.  But where do you start if you want to secure funding for your project? Where can you find the right donors and what steps should you go through in order to be successful, and turn your ideas into reality.  To discuss these questions and many more is today’s guest Elena Zurli from Environmental Grants (  Environmental Grants is a network of professionals seeking to support conservationists by helping them identify funding for their projects and deliver more impact.  In this episode, we talk about the many ways to secure funding for a conservation project, the dos and don’t of proposal writing, and much more besides. Elena also shares her career story with us along with her advice for people like you who might be seeking to follow in her footsteps.  It's a valuable episode. Enjoy.
55:03 08/11/2022
The Human Swan | Sacha Dench (Conservation Without Borders)
How can storytelling help to tackle some of the biggest issues of our time, like climate change and biodiversity loss? And what role can migratory birds play, like swans and ospreys?  To talk about these issues and many more is today's guest, Sacha Dench. Sacha is the CEO of Conservation Without Borders, which organises inspiring expeditions following the paths of migratory birds, along the lines of both geographical and political borders. By displaying the flyways from the air, land and sea, they help to highlight the importance of collective action in the fight against climate change and biodiversity collapse. Sacha is an adventurer, a conservationist, a champion freediver, and is known as the human swan for her paramotor journey in 2016 following the Bewick's Swan's migration from the Russian Arctic all the way to the UK. We spoke to her in the final days before her latest expedition, from the UK, through Europe and into Africa, charting the flight of the Osprey, and the impacts of climate change on migratory birds. In this episode, we talk about the realities of climate change and the importance of storytelling and communications for conservation, and how to stay hopeful and optimistic for the future.  Sacha also shares her inspiring career so far, along with her top advice for people like you who might be seeking to follow in her footsteps. It's a wide-ranging, enjoyable and really eye-opening chat. Enjoy.
56:38 08/01/2022
Helping the UK Government conserve nature | Dr Gemma Harper (Chief Executive of the JNCC)
In this episode I’m speaking with Dr Gemma Harper - the Chief Executive of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, or JNCC for short. JNCC is a public body that provides a shared scientific nature conservation service for the UK. This helps the governments in the UK to achieve their wildlife conservation objectives.  Just one year into her role as Chief Executive, we talk about the important role JNCC plays within biodiversity conservation efforts, and also her approach to leading the organisation. We also discuss her career path to date, before Gemma shares her advice for people like you, who might be seeking to follow in her footsteps.
51:13 07/18/2022
Happiest times as conservationists
What are our happiest times as conservationists? At Conservation Careers we help thousands of people start or switch their careers into conservation, but we rarely talk about the fun side of the conservation movement. If you're aspiring to work in conservation, we thought you might enjoy a little inspiration :) Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Head of Community, Dr Fernando Mateos-González - or Nando he’s often known - and Head of Engagement Kristi Foster, who together have nearly 50 years' experience working in the conservation sector. Here are our happiest memories from our careers working in conservation. Warning: if you're not already working in wildlife conservation, this episode might make you want to become a conservationist, too!
58:55 06/29/2022
Long-term solutions for people and wildlife | Anna Hixson (Institute for Ecological Civilization)
How can we tackle some of the biggest challenges facing us as a global society, for the betterment of people and wildlife? Can we rebuild and transform economic systems in favour of human and ecological wellbeing, and what does the future look like for protected areas? This forms part of the energetic discussion with today’s guest Anna Hixson. Anna is the Associate Director, Projects and Foundations Relations at the Institute for Ecological Civilization, or EcoCiv for short. Anna talks us through the work of EcoCiv, and what it’s like to do her role day-to-day. Having worked previously in HR, we also discuss her top tips for applications, along with her advice for aspiring conservation starters and switchers on how to get going in the sector. It’s an exciting, wide-ranging and informative discussion. Enjoy.
49:11 06/20/2022
The conservation story of Orangutans | Leif Cocks (The Orangutan Project)
Did you know that Orangutans are the most intelligent beings on the planet after humans?  Perfectly adapted to their environment, they pass on their knowledge and culture through each generation, in order to help future generations to thrive.  As self-aware being - as intelligent as a six-year-old child - their drive to extinction is an individual story of horror. Sometimes being macheted and burnt alive as an agricultural pest. To talk us through the conservation story of the Orangutans today is the world-renowned founder of The Orangutan Project, Leif Cocks. Leif has had a 30-year career working with Orangutans. He’s a passionate campaigner for the species and has been a key player in developing conservation plans for Orangutans and influencing positive change for orangutan protection and survival. This includes the first-ever successful reintroduction of the zoo-born Orangutan into the wild. We start the chat with his first connection with the species, before talking about what makes the species so special and fragile, then discussing the threats they face and conservation activities that could turn the story around. We also discuss the skills, roles and mindset needed in order to succeed in nature conservation on the frontline. It’s a wide-ranging, thoughtful and fascinating discussion. Enjoy.
54:14 06/06/2022
Helping businesses operate sustainably | Tara Mikhael (Deloitte LLP)
In recent years business leaders and board rooms across the globe have put sustainability and environmental towards the very top of their priorities.  In response an industry is forming rapidly to service their needs, both in house or as consultants. With generalist and specialist roles evolving all the time to keep up with the growing demand.    Riding on the crest of this sustainability revolution is today’s guest - Tara Mikhael.  Tara works covers the sustainability or supply chains at the consulting powerhouse Deloitte, where her works seeks to better understand the root and branch ethics of business operations.   In this fascinating chat we talk about the fledging sustainability and climate change profession, the roles it encompasses and work it’s seeking to achieve.  We also discuss her own passions and career to date, and Tara shares her advice for people seeking to better understand or enter the industry.  It’s an inspiring, eye-opening and fun podchat. Enjoy. 
34:22 04/04/2022
10 career changing moments
Could a single moment change the entire course of your conservation career? At Conservation Careers, we often talk about what steps to take for a successful career helping wildlife. In this episode we switch things up and reflect back on pivotal moments that changed our careers for the better. Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Head of Community, Dr Fernando Mateos-González - or Nando he’s often known - and Head of Engagement Kristi Foster, who together have nearly 50 years' experience working in the conservation sector. Together we explore how different decisions, opportunities and even chance events - including seemingly disastrous ones! - helped us get to where we are today.
43:27 03/01/2022
Breaking down barriers to entry | Lynn Mento (Conservation Nation)
In this episode we’re revisiting an important discussion within conservation, and something which may affect you. Namely, barriers to entry which make it difficult to pursue careers for women, people of color, indigenous people, and other under-represented groups. To discuss this in detail today is Lynn Mento, the CEO of new organisation Conservation Nation. Conservation Nation is dedicated to protecting wildlife by providing funding and networking opportunities to conservationists from diverse backgrounds. They are seeking to help change the conservationist profession from a field of exclusion to one of inclusion and growth. In the podcast we discuss the lack of diversity within conservation, the problems it causes and explore the potential solutions that Conservation Nation are developing. We also discuss Lynn’s exciting role and career to date, and she shares her advice for you, the listener, if you’re seeking to start your career in the sector. It’s a thoughtful, sobering and inspiring discussion. Enjoy.
37:45 02/15/2022
The good, the bad and the ugly in conservation
The media is full of images and stories of the wonderful side of conservation, including field work, research, travel, being outdoors and working closely with wildlife. But what is working in conservation REALLY like? Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Head of Community, Dr Fernando Mateos-González - or Nando he’s often known - and Head of Engagement Kristi Foster, who together have nearly 50 years' experience working in the conservation sector. We explore some of the unseen realities of working as a conservationist - the good, the bad, and the 'ugly' - including how to recognise good organisations from bad ones.
68:28 01/31/2022
Restoring life on Earth | Andrew Cottam (
We know that carbon in the atmosphere is increasing at an unsustainable rate, and that half of all native tress on earth have been felled.   This is having impacts on our lives, and on wildlife globally.   Recent studies have also shown that we have nearly a billion hectares of land suitable for ecosystem restoration.   That’s space for one TRILLION trees capturing around 30% of the excess carbon in our air.   IF done in the right way, with the right species, in the right places, this could form part of the global solution to climate change.  But with more data available than ever before, how do we make sense of it all to learn about what’s working in restoration and rewilding projects?   How do we put data into people’s hands so they can act more quickly, with more confidence, and have greater impacts?  Today we’re speaking with Andrew Cottam, who’s Head of Geospatial at an exciting new venture called Restor. A free online platform for the restoration movement, Restor is like a Google Maps for nature.   It connects practitioners with ecological data and builds networks between activists, funders and the public.   And for the first time, major scientific datasets are at the fingertips of conservationists … helping local knowledge to fuel global change.  Since launching just last year, Restor has connected over more than 70,000 restoration sites worldwide.   Helping thousands of local actions to become a global movement, and becoming a runner up in The Earthshot Prize along the way.  So if you want to know more about how technology is helping in the battle to restore life on earth, and how you can get involved in your lives or your careers, listen on.  
37:50 01/17/2022
Cade London | Diversity Joint Venture for Careers in Conservation
What is the diversity deficit in conservation, and how can we tackle it? In this episode we speak to Cade London, Associate Advisor, Office of Diversity and Inclusive Workforce Management, and Diversity Joint Venture Program Manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Cade is a 5th generation local from Hawaii, with a passion for conservation programs both in and out of government. Cade currently serves as the U.S. Domestic Focal Point and Communication, Capacity-building, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) Government Focal Point for the Ramsar Convention. We talk about how the diversity deficit in conservation came about, what problems it creates and why it's so important to increase diversity in conservation. We also discuss the Diversity Joint Venture for Careers in Conservation and their mission to “strengthen the conservation workforce by increasing diversity, equity and inclusion", including increasing the number of women and people of color in the conservation workforce. Lastly explore how people like YOU can get involved and help!
53:30 12/06/2021
How to get things done
With limited time available, and a need to have purpose and impact through our careers, how do we get the right things done well? How we choose tasks, organise our time and keep on top of busy email inboxes? Turns out saving the planet needs some serious time and task management! Joining our host Dr Nick Askew to discuss how to get stuff done as a conservationists, is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía – or Nando he’s often known – and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.
57:38 11/22/2021
The Power of Communications for Conservationists
Last year, Sir David Attenborough said that saving the planet is now a communications challenge. And within conservation there is a growing realisation that we need to do much more to share our messages, to encourage more support and action. As a result, conservation employers are rapidly looking for people with communications skills. They want staff who can plan communications activities, who can write effectively, get press and media attention, engage audiences on social media, deliver campaigns, write blogs, produce podcasts and much more. At Conservation Careers, we analysed over 30,00 conservation jobs from 100 countries, and we found that 41% explicitly wanted people with communications skills or experience. Here to discuss this today is our in-house communications coach, Lloyd Gofton. Lloyd has over 20 years of communications experience built in the agency sector, working for brands such as WWF, Greenpeace and RSPCA, along with Virgin Atlantic, Samsung and Honda, to mention just a few. In this episode we talk about WHY conservationists need better communications skills, and discuss some examples of the power of communications for making a real difference in the sector. So if you'd like to be more employable, and you'd like to have more impact, then listen on. Enjoy.
48:55 11/05/2021
Making the most of conservation events (for your career)
Conferences, meetings, festivals, community gatherings, networking events and more... Today there are MANY in-person and virtual conservation events to choose from! So how can you make the most of conservation events for your career? In this episode we discuss how events can help your career, how to choose which event(s) to participate in and how to make the most of an event - before, during and after. Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía - or Nando he’s often known - and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.
48:48 10/25/2021
I wish I knew sooner
If professional conservationists could go back in time and replay the clock what useful information would they have learnt sooner, that would have helped them in their careers? What things might be very different to the expectations of someone just starting out in conservation, and useful to know? Sadly we haven't worked out how to time travel just yet, but we can share our career reflections with YOU!  In this episode we discuss what we wish we'd known about working in conservation and wildlife biology, before we started working in the sector. Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía – or Nando he’s often known – and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.
55:34 10/12/2021
How to get conservation experience?
Getting experience - whether volunteering, interning or even starting your own project - can do a lot for you in the early stages of your career. It can help you understand yourself, test drive different options, grow your network, demonstrate your passion and commitment to prospective employers, build your skillset and make you more employable. But... how do you get experience of conservation when no one's hiring you? If you can’t get a job without experience, and yet it’s hard to get experience without a job, it can feel like a vicious cycle... In this episode we discuss how to get conservation experience, when you're not working in the sector. Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía – or Nando he’s often known – and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.
50:11 09/06/2021
Dr Hugh Safford | Forest Fires & Conservation
As conservationists, one thing we’ve seen a lot of on the news in recent years is forest fires.   Huge blazes in Australia, California, the Amazon razing forests to the ground and decimating wildlife unlucky enough to be in its path.  Today we’re speaking with someone who works on the front line as an expert on fires and forest ecology within California.   Dr Hugh Safford is a Regional Ecologist for the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region and Research Faculty at the University of California-Davis.  Hugh manages a staff of ecologists that provide expertise in vegetation and fire ecology across 18 National Forests in California, and is also Director of the Sierra Nevada region of the California Fire Science Consortium.  In this episode we talk about forest fires in California, and how they used to be much more common in the past.   We also discuss how our historical management of forests has caused many of the issues we are experiencing today.  Hugh also shares his career insights and advice, for people like you, who might be seeking to work in the US Forest Service or following similar paths. 
51:13 08/16/2021
Nancy Thomson | Thomson Environmental Consultants
Have you ever considered working as an environmental consultant?   Do you know what one is and does, and what skills they are looking for?  Today we’re speaking to Nancy Thomson, who’s the Director and founder of Thomson Environmental Consultants – a very well known name within the industry.   Nancy has set up two consultancies already. The first she sold, before going round the world on a boat for five years, and now heading her second company which is already turning over £20 million, as it seeks to expand rapidly.  We talk about the what it’s like to work as an environmental or ecological consultant, and the typical projects they get involved with at Thomson.   We also discuss the types of people they’re seeking to hire, along with hearing her career story of how she setup Thomson, and where the company might be going next.  Nancy's a real visionary, modest in character but big in ambition, drive and ability.  It’s a hugely enjoyable and inspiring chat. 
33:14 08/02/2021
How to survive academia (& enjoy it!)
In this episode we’re discussing what it’s like to study and work within academia, how to survive it, enjoy it and more..! Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía – or Nando he’s often known - and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.   
60:01 07/19/2021
James Bartram | President of IUCN Canada
What would have happened if we’d started engaging young people in the conservation movement much earlier? Would we be seeing more action, impact and progress within the sector now as a result?  And how can we address diversity and inclusion issues, in a sector that traditionally has been dominated by white men from relatively affluent backgrounds?  These are some of the topics we discuss in today’s episode with the President of IUCN Canada, James Bartram.   James is an inspiring figure within the conservation movement.   He describes himself as a change agent, building high functioning teams with real impact, always striving to work himself out of a job.   He believes youth are the hope of the world, and has lead teams of over 100 educators - tripling annual budgets from $3 to $9 million, and taking program participants from 200,000 to half a million.  We cover a lot of really interesting ground in this chat, and it’s one of those episodes where the pre-recording chat was so fascinating that we just hit record and kept going.  
63:15 07/05/2021
Professor David Hill CBE | The Environment Bank
Today we’re talking to a hugely inspiring figure within the UK ecology scene, who enjoys disrupting the market, and doing things differently.  Professor David Hill CBE is chairman and founding owner of The Environment Bank which he set up because of his concerns at the way wildlife was being treated within the planning and development sector.  In this episode we cover a lot of ground, and discuss the work of ecological consultants, and the constraints they often face when working within a set area of land – often termed the development boundary.  David talks about his innovative work seeking to secure payments from developers to establish large-scale and long-term conservation areas – separate from development sites – which will really help nature to flood back into our landscapes, on a scale not seen before.   Helping to pay for rewildling projects, and others like them.  He also announces the exciting news that he’s currently seeking to hire people to join him at The Environment Bank, following a large recent investment of funds. If you’d like to find out more about these roles, please contact JSM Associates.  And it’s worth mentioning that David also helped to get Dr Nick Askew, Director of Conservation Careers, his first job out of university nearly 20 years ago, where Nick worked as an ecological consultant for the company David set up and later sold. He’s a great guy.  As always, it’s a wide-ranging, inspiring and hugely enjoyable discussion.  Enjoy. 
39:58 06/14/2021
Making Conservation Better
In this episode we’re delving deeper into the conservation sector and exploring what conservationists need to be better at, in order to save more species, habitats and sites.   Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía – or Nando he’s often known - and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.    During this third episode of a new format of the podcast, the conservation career super-team share their thoughts on where conservationists might be going wrong? And what do we need to be better at, if we’re really going to turn the tide to tackle biodiversity losses across the planet… 
54:18 05/24/2021
Marnix van Holland | WWF
Have you ever met someone and feel like you’ve known them for years? You just clicked? That happened with today’s guest for me.  Marnix van Holland is the WWF Global Programme Manager for their Youth & Education work.  Before the podcast we were chatting and getting to know one another, and in the space of about 10-15 minutes we’d covered so many interesting topics that we took the call to include it in the interview for you guys to listen to.  Marnix oversees WWF's youth oriented work , with an emphasis on countries in the global South in Latin America, Africa and Asia.   Through his work he identifies, negotiates and formulates partnerships in order to mobilise millions of people and dollars to better conserve wildlife across the globe.  During the discussions we explore his work in detail, and opportunities the presented through a greater focus on involving young people more within the conservation movement.   We also discuss topics such as innovation, enterprise, sustainable hunting, parachuting conservation into countries from outside, and much more besides.  It’s a wide-ranging, fast paced, and highly enjoyable conversation and we join it before we’d decided to start the podcast formally. 
59:57 05/10/2021
Podcast | Applying for Conservation Jobs
In this episode we’re delving deeper into the world of applying for jobs in the conservation sector. Joining our host Dr Nick Askew is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía - or Nando he’s often known and Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist.   During this second of a new pilot format of the podcast the conservation career super-team talk about their own experiences of applying for jobs, and share their opinions and advice on how to make your applications more successful and less painful to produce. 
50:28 04/27/2021
Pilot Podcast | Exploitation in Volunteering
In this episode we’re exploring a new format which we hope you’ll enjoy. We’ve had 2 years of 1:1 podcast interviews and spoken to over 50 amazing conservationists about their careers, the industry and shared their advice. We love it and will continue to do this. However, through the podcast we’ve often felt the need for some topics to go deeper into the discussion – there's lots more to say, and we're just scratching the surface. We wanted to share our advice more, and to hear from other key figures in the wildlife careers space. So that’s what we’re going to try and do in this pilot episode. We’re going to pick a topic of interest to discuss in detail and to help me we’ve assembled a super team of wildlife career gurus, who have kindly agreed to share their thoughts, experience and advice. And if you’re a fan of the podcast, you’ll already know them. First up is Dr Fernando Mateos-González of Bioblogía, or Nando as he’s often known. Nando is fond of knowledge, advice and inspiration for people seeking careers in conservation biology. Making up this career-supergroup is Dr Stephanie Schuttler from the world of Fancy Scientist. Stephanie is an unconventional wildlife biologist, entrepreneur, and careers adviser who has spent nearly two decades studying all over the world.
71:05 04/05/2021
Helen Turnbull | The Cape Leopard Trust
How do you conserve a species which is incredibly hard to see? A ghost species?  That’s the challenge faced by today’s guest Helen Turnbull, CEO of The Cape Leopard Trust in South Africa.  The Cape leopard is the stuff of legends.   It’s seldom seen and highly elusive, surviving in some of the most inhospitable habitat possible – the rugged mountain ranges of South Africa’s Western Cape.  And here they can come into conflict with people, or more specifically farmers, who can see them threats to their livestock.  This is where the Trust comes in, to ensure the long-term survival of leopard populations by promoting peaceful coexistence and the protection of landscapes, empowered by scientific research, positive community partnerships, education and advocacy.  In today’s episode I talk with Helen about the amazing work of the Trust, and how they tackle such a complex issue.  We also discuss her fascinating career which has taken her from working for an airline for nearly two decades, to being a business owner working in sustainable tourism, to where she is today, leading conservation efforts for cape leopards.  It’s a great story, and we start with Helen providing an overview of the work of the Trust.  Enjoy. 
53:40 03/23/2021