A Focus On Nature

A Focus On Nature

Explore And Communicate – Emma Caton

Happy New Year! In the first week of this shiny new year, we are hearing from seven AFON members on their hopes and plans for 2016.

Another year has come and gone and I, like a lot of people around the world, like to reflect back on the past year with a positive attitude and also look forward to what I would like to achieve in the year ahead. Overall, I feel that 2015 has been a great success. I graduated from university with a degree in Zoology and started a Masters course. I created my new blog and even decided to try my hand with the new vlogging craze by starting my own wildlife themed YouTube channel. But the most important thing I realised this year was just how much I really wanted to chase my dream career of communicating about wildlife and conservation.

Of course, I would be lying if I said I had absolutely no regrets from 2015, and as it happens there is one very important thing that I hope to rectify in 2016. As you can probably gather from what I mentioned above, last year was an incredibly busy time for me, completing a degree and starting a brand new course certainly wasn’t what I would call a walk in the park. But in all of the long hours I spent studying in the Library pouring over books, lecture notes and scientific journals written by top scientists while dreaming of a future full of achievements in conservation I forgot one very important thing, to actually stop and enjoy wildlife. I know for someone studying a zoology degree that sounds like a very strange thing to say but while I spent so much time reading about wildlife in books as study for my exams it was very easy to forget the wildlife that was just outside the library window. Of course it is necessary to work hard and get good grades in order to achieve that dream job but I found I was sacrificing my long walks through the woods and just generally time outdoors with nature in order to do it. Being much more of a practical person, I am a strong believer that not everything can be taught in books and so this year one of my aims is to get outside with my notebook and video camera more to record wildlife events and actually get to experience what I love learning about first hand.

So that brings me on to the next part of my new year’s resolution, which is to communicate! This is something I do already to a certain extent but this year I hope to reach audiences of all ages and a lot further afield. This past year I really have discovered how much you can make a difference by just talking to people about your passion and explaining why it is important to you. It really is a wonderful feeling to see someone light up at the sight of you getting so excited while explaining some cool wildlife you saw at the weekend or sharing an interesting animal fact.

Technology in this day and age gives use the power to reach audiences far and wide and that is exactly what I am planning to do this year through my blog and YouTube channel. By communicating more on issues in conservation as well as how incredible the natural world is both here and abroad I hope to inspire others to take action to save such incredible natural beauty that we don’t even have to stray far from our front doors to see. I also believe it is important to inspire younger people about the importance of conserving the natural world so I have signed up to be a STEM ambassador to improve my skills in face to face communication with a younger audience, which again is something I want to work with in the future.

As you can see my aims for this year focus very much around communication, and communication starts with good knowledge and what better way to understand the natural world than to surround yourself by it! This year could be a solid foundation towards achieving my dream of one day being able to talk about wildlife and conservation to a global audience. It may seem very ambitious but as I was always taught, dream big!

Emma Caton is currently studying for her Master’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London. She has a huge passion for communicating about the natural world and runs her own blog and YouTube channel www.thezoologist.co.uk. You can follow her on twitter @EmmaECaton.