Is Your Child Interested in a Career in Wildlife?
Every kid has seen those documentaries on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the National Geographic Channel that show field and marine biologists in exotic locations performing exciting research. Among other things, they serve to get young people interested in the conservation and exploration of the natural world.
But what if your child is actually keen on following in these scientist’s footsteps? What if they are determined to live the type of life they see these researchers living? What sort of an education does your child have to obtain?
Behind The Scenes of Exciting Natural Documentaries
The biologists, botanists, geologists and zoologists that you see on TV are generally people at the top of their chosen field. They all have advanced degrees, if not doctorates. While what is shown on camera may seem exciting, they are professionals being paid good money to deliver results about whatever topic they are researching to whoever is paying them.
The glamorous field work is only the tip of the iceberg in relation to most thorough field studies. What the networks don’t show is the countless hours these people spend in laboratories, poring through field samples or on a computer. They sometimes spend months analyzing, synthesizing and making sense of the data they have gathered in the field, all towards the goal of obtaining results.
Preparing Your Child for the Realities of Field or Marine Biology
If your child shows a real interest in pursuing these types of sciences, the younger you can start them on the road to realizing their dreams, the better. The academic requirements for under-graduates in the areas of field and marine biology are many and varied in scope.
Different areas call for different fields of study. A land-based field biologist, without any specialized focus for example, generally must have a working proficiency in the areas of chemistry, organic chemistry, statistics and physics. If they want to specialize in botany, add plant ecology, pathology, genetics and structure to their list of studies.
Marine biologists also face a daunting list of areas in which they must show proficiency: oceanography, chemistry, physics, molecular biology and geology. Depending on their specific topic of research they may also have to make such disparate subjects as zoology and fluid dynamics part of their studies.
Mathematics and English-writing are also skills that they must have a firm command of. They need the ability to transfer raw data into mathematical models that can be analyzed objectively. And the need to express those results clearly and eloquently on paper is important for other people to see the relevance in the biologist’s discoveries.
The next time your child watches a nature documentary and expresses a liking for that type of lifestyle, explain to them fully what that lifestyle entails. It just might be the incentive they need to hit the books!
Explore Their Interests Further
In Thailand, There are several wonderful opportunities to expose our kids to wildlife conservation in more depth, with hands on activities and a first-hand look at what such work entails. We have covered three such places in a previous article, located in places as diverse as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin. Also, ReWild Thailand occasionally organises unique wildlife watching trips that help educate people on being environmental stewards.
Photo Credit: Wildlife Friends Foundation