The first half of this year saw much international media attention on Nature Seychelles’ work. A podcast on conservtion-careers.com and a blog on natural science careers interviewing me shone a bright light on the successful work we are doing in training, capacity building and mentoring not only young Seychellois, but through our Conservation Boot Camp (CBC) program, budding conservationists from all over the world.
Smart practitioners know that conservation is an art as well as a science. A University education, however, does not provide the mental and emotional tool kit needed to work in this multi-disciplinary arena. I was motivated to create the Conservation Boot Camp (CBC) to bridge that gap between what is leaned in the classroom and what is absorbed by working with all kinds of people and facing different real-life situations.
The CBC was designed to impart “competencies and character qualities." Part of the program is that I, a conservationist with over 3 decades of experience, would meet with each participant and discuss their experience in the CBC and their careers and aspirations. The meetings reinforced the importance of being a conservation mentor. Many of the participants clearly said their interactions with me gave them confidence and catalysed their determination and career choices.
The CBC program has turned out to be inspiring and useful for the majority of people who took it. People have said good things like:
"I honestly believe the skills and knowledge I have learnt with Nature Seychelles, will come in handy in my career in nature and marine conservation, either back in South Africa, or abroad somewhere else." Louise - South Africa
"My stay at Cousin Island was one of the best experiences I've ever had. My direct contact with nature and with the island team increased my motivation to protect and conserve the environment." Berthin - Madagascar
"The diverse experiences I’ve had in conservation, as well as my reflections beyond, would have been worth it alone, and the incredible setting is just the icing on the cake." Caitlin - Germany
The CBC is a pretty unique program because it takes people with academic education in conservation and related fields and throws them literally in the deep end of conservation work in a small island, in a small country, in the tropics. My conversations on conservation on the two international sites has been generating a lot of buzz. I have had at least 100 emails on the subject since they were released. The CBC is an amazing program. Why don’t you try it?
Dr. Nirmal Jivan Shah
Chief Executive Letter, CBC Magazine 7, Mid-2019. Read it online at Issuu or download it below