Celebrate women in parks this International Women's Day

Celebrate women in parks this International Women’s Day

Women play an inte­gral role in South Aus­tralian nation­al parks as staff, vol­un­teers and lead­ers. Meet a few below:

Celebrate women in parks this International Women's Day

Tal­itha, Rein­tro­duc­tion Ecologist

I work as a Rein­tro­duc­tion Ecol­o­gist, which involves man­ag­ing the rein­tro­duc­tion of threat­ened species such as West­ern Quolls and Red-tailed Phasco­gales into our Flinders and Out­back nation­al parks. I love work­ing with native wildlife and espe­cial­ly threat­ened species and get­ting them back into areas where they once thrived.

My proud­est career moment was help­ing rein­tro­duce West­ern Quolls back into South Aus­tralia and con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor and rein­tro­duce them to Vulkathun­ha Gam­mon Ranges Nation­al Park. Once they are released, hav­ing babies and the pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow, you know all the long hard days and work have paid off!

The most impor­tant piece of advice I’ve ever received is if you want to do some­thing, don’t give up. Ecol­o­gy can be a tricky indus­try to get into but if you’re pas­sion­ate and work hard, it’s all about net­work­ing and show­ing that you are capa­ble and you’ll even­tu­al­ly get where you want to be, even with hur­dles along the way.

Image courtesy of Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance and Fuller Brand Communication. Photographer: Christopher Morrison
Image cour­tesy of Kan­ga­roo Island Tourism Alliance and Fuller Brand Com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Christo­pher Morrison

Mel, Research and Oper­a­tions Coor­di­na­tor – Seal Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park 

My role is blend­ed between assist­ing to run Seal Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park, while man­ag­ing the sus­tain­abil­i­ty and research of an endan­gered and declin­ing endem­ic marine mam­mal – the Aus­tralian sea lion. I enjoy shar­ing the work­place and field work with impas­sioned peo­ple who care about pro­tect­ing the species and shar­ing the sea lions sto­ries to encour­age con­ser­va­tion aspi­ra­tions in others. 

A core com­po­nent of my role is to main­tain and con­tin­u­al­ly devel­op the SARDI/DEW long-term mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram at Seal Bay, which has pro­vid­ed data on microchipped and scanned ani­mals for over 20 years. Five breed­ing sea­sons ago I start­ed scan­ning the breed­ing bulls who mate-guard females that have just pupped, which has cre­at­ed a dataset on key male indi­vid­u­als and their breed­ing strate­gies. I see this as a con­tin­u­a­tion of proud career moments, as each breed­ing sea­son pro­vides a unique insight into male breed­ing behav­iour not being done any­where else. The data cap­tured at Seal Bay is fun­da­men­tal for pro­vid­ing evi­dence-based knowl­edge for con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of the species in its entire­ty, I’m incred­i­bly proud to be man­ag­ing this project. 

Celebrate women in parks this International Women's Day

Corinne (left), Oper­a­tions Man­ag­er Cle­land Wildlife Park

I am cur­rent­ly act­ing as the Oper­a­tions Man­ag­er at Cle­land Wildlife Park. I like hav­ing a broad range of work and plen­ty of vari­ety — my days are nev­er dull or the same here! I also enjoy sup­port­ing the team and mak­ing sure that they have the tools and the sup­port they need to do their roles.

I’ve have been giv­en some amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that have been both chal­leng­ing and reward­ing. Step­ping into my first man­age­ment role was a real­ly spe­cial moment for me as I enjoy lead­ing and work­ing with peo­ple and being there to sup­port them. The best advice I’ve received is to always trust your­self. Life can be unpre­dictable so it’s impor­tant to stay ground­ed in your val­ues and to trust your intuition.

Michelle (right), Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Cle­land Wildlife Park

My favourite part about work­ing at Cle­land Wildlife Park is con­nect­ing peo­ple with nature and work­ing with a won­der­ful group of ded­i­cat­ed staff and vol­un­teers who share the impor­tance of con­ser­va­tion. I enjoy watch­ing local and inter­na­tion­al vis­i­tors appre­ci­ate wildlife in its nat­ur­al habi­tat. For many, this can be an emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence and one I’m sure will stay with them for a long time. 

I’ve been for­tu­nate enough in my career to have expe­ri­enced many great moments and to have worked with some amaz­ing peo­ple. What I’ve found very reward­ing is being a men­tor and hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pass on my expe­ri­ence to oth­ers, to watch and help them grow on their journey. 

The best piece of advice I’ve been giv­en is to lis­ten and ques­tion, rather than react­ing hasti­ly. Take time out and find a bal­ance in work and life. 

Celebrate women in parks this International Women's Day

Barb, Site Inter­preter Nara­coorte Caves 

My role is based at Nara­coorte Caves Nation­al Park as a Site Inter­preter. What I most enjoy about my role is shar­ing our amaz­ing World Her­itage Site with vis­i­tors to our park, includ­ing school groups. Some­times caves are not everyone‘s pre­ferred place to vis­it so it’s very reward­ing when the vis­i­tors expe­ri­ence turns to I’m so glad I joined your tour!”.

I’m very lucky to have the best of both worlds on the sur­face and under­ground in my role. In my 21 years at Nara­coorte Caves I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to vis­it oth­er cave sites rep­re­sent­ing our site and also as a vol­un­teer. The best piece of advice I’ve received was in my very first week in the role, my men­tor, who I still work with said Your role here may just be a job or it will become a part of your life…..’

These women, along with many oth­ers in the nation­al parks, are mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the state’s parks and reserves. Their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion ensures the future of our nat­ur­al places by help­ing to con­serve our ecosys­tems and wildlife.

Want to cel­e­brate an inspir­ing woman in your own life?

Remind an exhaust­ed new mum she’s doing great, encour­age your col­league who is work­ing hard to cre­ate change, or per­haps cel­e­brate a friend who is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their community. 

Every woman’s suc­cess should be an inspi­ra­tion to anoth­er. We’re strongest when we cheer each oth­er on.” –Ser­e­na Williams

Head­er image cour­tesy of Kan­ga­roo Island Tourism Alliance and Fuller Brand Com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Christo­pher Morrison

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living