An Interview with an Education Development Officer in a Rainforest


An Interview with Kirsty Shakespeare, Education Development Officer at The Living Rainforest

I recently had the opportunity to visit The Living Rainforest which is part of the Trust for Sustainable Living.  It is a haven for plants and animals that wouldn't normally be seen in the English countryside but whose natural environment is in rainforests around the world.  It is one of the UK’s top eco-attractions and Kirsty manages the acclaimed Education Programme. 


This must be a dream job for someone with an interest in plant and animal life.  What did you study?

I did a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology at Anglia Ruskin University and a Master’s Degree in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London based at Silwood Park, the Environmental Science campus just outside Ascot.

During your studies did you get the chance to visit some of the environments you were studying?

I was very lucky during my studies that I’ve had the opportunity to undertake lots of field trips. When studying native wildlife we visited the Isle of Rum in Scotland to study the Red Deer rut and went to Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast to carry out a Grey Seal census. As part of our studies into Zoo Management we visited several zoos in the Netherlands to learn about the behaviour and management of animals in different collections and compare them to British zoo collections and management practices.

I gained my PADI scuba dive qualifications during two university trips to Egypt and then got to attend a shark conservation and biology trip to South Africa, as part of a marine biology module, where we worked with marine biologists and shark experts from the KwaZuluNatal Sharks Board, which was an incredible experience.


“I gained my PADI scuba dive qualifications ….”