Mya-Rose is a British Bangladeshi teenager with a difference – she is a local conservationist, naturalist, environmentalist, activist, writer and public speaker, so well-known and regarded that she was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Shaun the Sheep and has even met David Attenborough!

Alongside George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones, Mya-Rose has been listed as one of Bristol’s most influential young people. And in June 2016, she took the unprecedented step of organising a conference aiming to increase ethnic diversity in nature, following which she set up Black2Black. Here’s what she says about choosing a career working with nature and the environment…

Are you missing out on a job in conservation or the environment?

Wondering what you can do? Want to do something different? Do you like animals, watching Planet Earth 2 or do you care about climate change? Have you thought about a career in nature, conservation, or the environment? Maybe – maybe not, then find out what you are missing.

These jobs could have your name on them:

There is a wide variety of careers in the conservation and environmental sector that most people just don’t know about. The opportunities are varied, ranging from jobs outdoors surveying wildlife, fixing fences and cutting hedges to office based jobs such as HR, Marketing and PR.

As well as a huge choice of roles in these sectors, there’s also a wide variety of organisations ranging in size from the tiniest local clubs and societies to those, such as Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which has over 500 staff at their head office near Luton.

If this is something you would like to explore further, the following have offices in or near Bristol and several are already advertising their events and volunteering opportunities on the Careersnearhere.com website: Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT), Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT), Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT), Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) and Friends of the Earth (FoE).

Qualifications you will need:

It is a possibility to get a job with A Levels so check with the organisations, but the most common routes after school into careers in nature, conservation and the environment will be via Higher Education so why not consider a degree in subjects like Biology, Marine Biology, Zoology, or Ecology? There are almost no Minority Ethnic young people studying these courses so why not help that to change.

Interested – what to do now?

I’d suggest you getting onto Twitter to follow the RSPB, AWT, SWT, WWT, Greenpeace and FoE. Whether through social media or on their website direct, try and learn as much as you can by reading up on all their campaigns.

Then contact the young conservationist’s organisation called ‘A Focus on Nature’ (AFON) as well as ‘Bristol Nature Network’ (BNN) and get in touch with my new organisation ‘Black2Nature’. At the moment there are almost no Minority Ethnic people working in these sectors so join and try and help that to change.

There’s also my Birdgirl Blog with posts about birding and conservation from around the world as well as Birdgirl on Facebook on Twitter. On LinkedIn, you can connect with me (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) or join the ‘Race Equality in Nature’ LinkedIn Group to be part of the change.

To get into conservation, you need lots of voluntary experience, so start as soon as you can:

Types of volunteering could be physical work out on nature reserves, helping small local groups with their social media is great as it will give you marketing and PR experience. There are opportunities with the local conservation organisations listed above either on their own websites or signposted via the relevant careers noticeboards on Careersnearhere.com.

And in the summer, why not consider Camp Avalon? It’s a camping weekend for young people aged 13-18 who are interested in birds or wildlife, as well as for young people with no experience of nature. It is especially for those who are BME or from inner cities, but not exclusively so why not take a look and see if it’s for you. Read more about this opportunity on Careersnearhere.com: https://www.careersnearhere.com/inspiration/entry/4499/

Thanks Mya-Rose.

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