The start of this month saw us welcome our new Education and Outreach Assistant, Ken. Like Thomas, our Research Assistant, Ken arrived in April and has been helping with all aspects of our work ever since. Ken is from Lincolnshire but he grew up in the Philippines for half of his life. Ken went to Lancaster Univeristy where, during his second year, he spent some time studying abroad at Macquarie University, Sydney. During Ken’s first two weeks in Australia he got into an accident that left him paralysed from the waist down. After months of balancing rehab and university, he learned to walk again and graduated with a BSc in Ecology and Conservation.
Ken is now enjoying further expanding his cetacean knowledge at Sea Watch Foundation as our EA. To find out a bit more about him, I asked him a few questions..
What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
Growing up in the Island country of the Philippines, I’ve always been fascinated by the diversity of marine life, which ended up playing a significant role in my decision to pursue BSc Ecology and Conservation at Lancaster University in the UK. However, it was during my second year of university that I read up on cetaceans and was blown away by their intellect and the complexity of their social behaviour, which began my passion to learn about these amazing animals as much as I can.
What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
The steps that I’ve taken to work towards my career goals are enrolling and participating in courses that would expand my knowledge of marine mammals and their methods of conservation. In addition to this, volunteering and networking with people within the industry has really helped to give me a broader perspective of the different roles that I could play to do my part.
Which part of working for Sea Watch Foundation do you enjoy the most?
I definitely enjoy going out on surveys with the Sea Watch Foundation and Dolphin Spotting Boat Trip Team the most! It’s always good fun and seeing dolphins never gets old! I’ve also met some great friends during my time in New Quay.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Everyone who is starting out a career in conservation is on the same boat, sometimes it may seem confusing, and you could feel lost, but if you have a good work ethic and positive attitude then there’s no reason why you can’t get anywhere with it.
What advice could you give budding marine conservationists?
Make the most of any opportunity you can find out there, do not be afraid to ask questions and get out of your comfort zone. This internship and being able to work with our recommended boat operator (Dolphin Spotting Boat Trips) has really taught me these values and I will carry them on moving forward in life.
What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Other than orcas, my favourite marine creature is the cuttle fish, their ability to shape shift depending on the environment and situation is how I aspire to be in this lifetime.
And finally, what is your most unforgettable moment at sea?
My most unforgettable moment at sea is from the last survey I participated in. We were fortunate enough to see a pod of 40+ common dolphins that had multiple juveniles and new borns!
Thanks for that Ken! You’ve been a great asset to our team this season – particularly when it comes to picking litter out of the ocean during our surveys! If you’re in New Quay, make sure to pop via our Dolphin Hub (near the bottom car park) where Ken will be happy to answer any questions. Alternatively you can contact him via email at email@example.com
If you’d like to learn more about our team we also asked our Research Assistant, Thomas the same questions. Find his answers here.
Katie Baker Communication and Outreach Officer