Meet our seasonal volunteers 2013
Nichaela is a graduate from Bangor University with a degree in Zoology with Conservation. Nichaela first came to volunteer at CBMWC in 2011 for ten weeks between June and September. She enjoyed it so much she came back to volunteer with us again in 2012, but for the whole season this time, assisting with the analysis of photographs and production of our photo-ID catalogue.
This year she is back again thanks to funding received from the Vodafone World of Difference programme which has enabled her to focus her time with us to running our Education and Activity program for four months. In her new role as Education and Outreach Officer, Nichaela is utilising experience gained from ten years of volunteering with Girlguiding UK helping to run Rainbow, Brownie and Ranger units in West Sussex where she is originally from. We are keeping our fingers crossed that after her four months World of Difference placement ends she will see the season through with us again on a voluntary basis.
Francesca was born in Foggia, a town in the South of Italy. Learning to dive at the age of 15 fired up Francesca’s passion for marine wildlife. Francesca has a degree in biology from the La Sapienza University in Rome. She’s been fortunate to travel a lot with her parents and during one of their holidays in Greece she was lucky enough to spot a group of dolphins approaching their boat, and a Mediterranean monk seal in the National Marine Park of Alonissos. In that moment Francesca says that she fell relentlessly in love with marine mammals. Following her six month placement at CBMWC, her plan is to remain in the UK to complete her studies with an MRes in marine biology and a PhD.
Simon is from Cambridge and on a gap year having finished his A levels in biology, chemistry geography and maths with a place secured at the University of Exeter to study Conservation Biology and Ecology. He volunteers with the local Wildlife Trust and loves to get outdoors to see nature in it’s element. He tries to live a low carbon lifestyle, the potential environmental impact of a choice plays a huge role in his decision making process; from deciding to be a vegetarian, to how to travel and what to buy. He’s a big fan of cooking and loves to try out different combinations of ingredients and see what it ends up like, because recipe books take away that bit of adventure. Music is a big part of his life too and attempts to write some of it every now and then.
Krysia is a Marine Biology masters graduate from the Universtiy of Southampton, and is keen to work within the marine conservation sector. After four years at university she went travelling for seven months, during which she was able to go on exotic dives, experiencing a range of different marine environments and wildlife from Malawi to Vietnam. She also took the opportunity to go whale and dolphin watching whilst in New Zealand and Australia, and cage diving with Great Whites in South Africa, all of which were amazing experiences. Travelling is a great passion of Krysias, and in 2008 she successfully summited Mt Kilimanjaro on a 2 week trip to Tanzania.
Krysia is also a member with the charity Orca, which enables her to volunteer aboard cruise vessels to collect observational data of marine mammal sightings, and she is looking forward to doing some local trips within British waters to observe our own wildlife.
As a seasonal volunteer with CBMWC, she is very much looking forward to carrying out both boat and land-based surveys, learning photo ID skills, and sharing my enthusiasm for the marine environment with visitors.
Ruth is an Animal Science (Behaviour and Welfare) graduate of Plymouth University. She was brought up in rural North Devon and is a country girl with a broad experience of working with livestock and domestic animals. Ruth also spent a lot of time walking, swimming and surfing at North Devon’s beautiful beaches and enjoying its stunning coastline: this all contributed to a keen interest in marine wildlife, in which she would love to pursue a career. Ruth has previously volunteered at an animal rehabilitation centre in Greece, a local wildlife park in North Devon and did an internship at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary.
Although Sarah is originally from Cardiff, her summers growing up were filled with trips to the heart of the welsh countryside visiting her grandparents in a small village in Carmarthenshire. Here she spent idyllic days wandering the hills being chased by cows, eating blackberries by the lake and scaling ditches via a make-shift rope swing. It was this environment that evoked her passion for wildlife and the natural world. In her free time Sarah loves art and has worked with children at a local primary school on several occasions, helping to run art projects and create costumes and scenery for their drama productions. This spring Sarah spent three months in Costa Rica volunteering with a toucan research project in Turrialba where she monitored keel-billed toucans and collared aracaris in forest fragments, a wonderful experience that allowed her to experience another culture as well as the principles of field research. Since childhood she has harboured a fascination for marine biology and is excited to contribute towards the marine mammal research at CBMWC; an experience which she hopes will enhance her field skills and allow her to share her enthusiasm for biology with the public. Last year Sarah graduated from the University of Nottingham with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and will begin her MSc in Conservation at University College London in September. Following her degree she wishes to pursue a career within the field of conservation or behavioural ecology.
Originally from the Big Smoke, Phoebe now lived in Wales, having always known she was a country girl at heart. She has a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology, which she studied at Lampeter University just down the road. Having never been sure what sort of career and life-style she wanted, she suddenly had the realisation a couple of years ago that the environment and the world we live in are really where her passions lie. Since then, she has been taking any opportunities she can to gain valuable experience to help her along her chosen path, with pursuing a career in conservation. She has volunteered for a few environmental charities, including the RSPB, Trees for Cities, and the National Trust, and has worked at the Centre for Alternative Technology not far from us. She is also very conscious of her life-style choices concerning the impact one can have on the environment, including what food she eats, products she buys, and the energy she uses. She is looking forward to getting settled in doing something she loves, and is hoping her three months here, as well as being an enjoyable summer, will help her along with getting there.
Sarah Kathryn Meng
Sarah Kathryn lives in Georgia in the United States. She currently attends Rollins College, a small liberal arts school in Florida, where she is studying Psychology and plans on becoming a marine mammal trainer. Sarah Kathryn has always loved marine mammals and the sea. Currently a volunteer at the Georgia Aquarium, she is excited to travel to the UK and gain new experiences at CBMWC.
Lee was born in Great Yarmouth and has always lived by the coast. He studied for his BSc in Zoology at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus in Falmouth, before obtaining his MSc in Biodiversity Conservation with Bournemouth University. Lee has always had a fascination with the natural world, however he admits he didn’t have a clear vocational path in mind. Once he finished his Master’s degree Lee spent a short time on Vancouver Island, Canada. Whilst there he undertook a whale watching excursion and came across a pod of Orca, in a moment of unbridled clarity he knew that he wanted to work with Marine Mammals. Upon his return he immediately booked up Marine Mammal Observer, Protected Species Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitor course. Since then he has been undertaking volunteer cetaceans and seabird surveys and is hoping that a placement with the CBMWC will give me valuable experience in various aspects of ecotourism, dolphin biology and seabird identification.
Originally from London, Alice spent the majority of her childhood sailing which is where her passion for all things marine developed. She is studying for a BSc in Wildlife and Practical Conservation and is currently undertaking a placement year as part of her course. She has worked with a marine conservation NGO in Belize conducting research on the health of the coral reef which involved underwater surveys on benthic diversity and fish biomass, as well as boat based surveys on the bird and manatee populations in the area.
During her time there she had one of the most amazing experiences of her life – she was joined on a dive by a pod of 24 Atlantic spotted dolphins who stayed with the group for over half an hour. Alice says that she was already looking forward to coming to Cardigan Bay to learn more about photo ID and improve her observational skills, but this experience has encouraged her even more!
Jessica grew up in bristol where she studied for her A levels in Biology, Chemistry and French. Ater leaving school Jessica spent seven months living in Western Canada working as a childrens ski instructor before returning to the UK to start studying for her undergraduate degree in Zoology at Newcastle University. Jessica is about to sart the 3rd year of her undergraduate degree with the hope of staying on to do a masters in Conservation Management.
Zoe has just completed BSc (hons) in Conservation Biology with Animal Behaviour at the University of Lincoln. She has a strong interest in marine ecosystems, specifically marine mammals and would live on a beach if she could! Her course has had little to do with Marine life so she is hoping to branch out into the direction of marine conservation. Zoe’s dream is to open her own Ecotourism and Education Centre so she feels that every part of CBMWC volunteering will not only be extremely enjoyable but also hugely beneficial to her. She has been able to make contacts, through attending conferences with the British Ecological Society and the Society of Biology, which have provided her with future prospects of a career in Marine conservation surveying; home and abroad, and ecological consultancy, following CBMWC volunteering. However, with nothing set in stone, she is currently very excited at the prospect of the world being her oyster and she intends to make the very most of it! In Zoe’s words…”whether they are interested or not, everyone I know has been informed of my eagerness for summer to arrive so that I can move to New Quay for nine weeks and get involved!”.