An Interview with an Education Development Officer in a Rainforest

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For my Master’s thesis I worked with a Professor from the University of Athens, so I spent 3 months living in central Athens studying Greek Island lizard species which involved several fieldtrips out to several Islands to collect data on the lizards and also a week catching Milos Vipers for another project studying the medicinal uses of snake venoms.

 Do you have a particular specific interest in your field?

Exotic species, particularly reptiles and amphibians have always been my main interest and they are well represented here at the Living Rainforest.  Having the opportunity to work in a rainforest environment means I am always learning new things and getting to teach others about what I love is fantastic and hugely rewarding.

holding-snake-2

“… reptiles and amphibians have always been my main interest ...

 

How did you find yourself working at The Living Rainforest?

I hadn’t really considered a career in education whilst I was studying, I had hoped to get into something in the environmental and conservation field but wasn’t entirely sure what. After graduating I ended up working in retail and then in financial recruitment whilst paying back loans and applying for a variety of different environmentally based roles.  I have done lots of voluntary work for different groups whilst working and realised that I had actually had quite a bit of experience working with children of various ages running educational activities, so then began looking into education and teaching positions and was lucky enough to get my role here at The Living Rainforest.

in-the-rain-forest

“... my role here at The Living Rainforest.

 

In your role as Education Development Officer what is the main focus of the education programmes you offer?

We use our indoor rainforest to allow schools to explore the amazing range of species that live in the rainforest and understand why they are important, not only biologically, but also as a valuable resource for oxygen production, medicines, foods and much more.  We teach about the current threats they face and give students the chance to understand how the choices they make here at home, such as buying Fairtrade or FSC certified sustainable wood products, can affect and help save the rainforest.

 Which age groups do you cater for?

Our formal education program is curriculum linked to support the work being taught within the classroom and caters for all ages from Reception children (aged 4) up to University students. I am also responsible for Informal education which is our visiting public program so that caters for all ages from young children to their great grandparents!

 

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