Today (10th November 2022) is International Zoo and Aquarium Educators (IZE) day. A day to recognise and celebrate the important role conservation educators play in educating and empowering people to love nature and take action for conservation.
On this special day, we are proud to introduce you to a phenomenal conservation educator, our very own Executive Manager uShaka Sea World Education, Jone Porter. Over the years Jone has received many accolades for her role in conservation education, taken on many roles and inspired millions of people to care for nature.
We sat down and asked her a few questions for you to get to know her a bit better.
Where does your interest in nature come from?
Many years of playing outside and being taken to game reserves and scenic wonders and being encouraged to look closer
If you could fix one environmental challenge tomorrow, what would it be and why?
Over-use of resources so we have stronger faunal and floral populations to deal with all the other challenges
What is the most amazing animal you have had the privilege of working with?
Impossible to choose – I am usually attracted to a species once I’ve learnt about their amazing adaptations and over the years, you can imagine I have learned so much and feel more and more privileged every day.
To find out more about Jone and her love for and contribution to nature, click the link to more questions and answers on our website.
What is the importance of conservation education in a zoo or aquarium?
Like nature reserves, these are often one of the few places people can be in nature, and with their families or friends building social connections. These are one of the very few places that people are encouraged to think about human impacts and what actions they can take for conservation. Zoos and aquariums should also be reputable voices for conservation action locally and nationally
What is the most challenging part of being a conservation educator?
You very seldom see the impact of your work in the short term
Can you tell us about a career moment you are most proud of.
Working with iZinyanga around a protected area to reduce illegal harvesting
Who has inspired you in your career?
Rangers who put their life on the line every day
Derek Potter: told me I could apply for ranger naturalist in spite of being female
Drummond Densham supported me as his first community conservation co-ordinator to work on my own with tribal authorities
Can you recommend any books/resources/podcasts that may be of use to other conservation educators
Fostering Sustainable behavior. An introduction to community-based social marketing 2011
Doug McKenzie-Mohr www.cbsm.com
Social change for Conservation The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Education Strategy 2020 Sarah Thomas https://izea.net/the-waza-education-strategy/