Naturalist

The primary responsibilities of a Naturalist are preserving, restoring, maintaining, and protecting a natural habitat through awareness and conservation work. Among the related responsibilities in these jobs are writing research papers and articles, teaching students and other interested groups, public speaking and giving scientific and ecological demonstrations. Naturalists may work within a variety of environments, including private nature centres, national parks and forests, wildlife museums, independent non-profit conservation and restoration associations and hotels.

Job Roles

Entry Level

Volunteer/Seasonal Employee: If you are someone who cares very deeply about the environment and  are looking for a career as a Naturalist, this is a good place to start. You can volunteer when you are on holiday or become a seasonal employee for when the park or establishment needs you the most.

Supervisory Level

Naturalist: A Naturalist is one who assists in maintaining a balance in the environment. The Naturalist teaches people  or guests about the need to protect and conserve plants and animals that thrive in natural habitats, by showing how these animals call these habitats their home. A park Naturalist will promote the park with the aim of generating revenue, while creating awareness about the park’s flora or fauna. At a hotel or resort, the Naturalist’s role is to educate guests about the hotel’s immediate environment, as well as the surrounding natural environment.

Executive Level

Conservation Director: The Conservation Director is responsible for the management of his/her team in regard to the budget, managing staff work schedules, restoring native habitats, initiating efforts to control exotic and invasive species, maintaining infrastructure, ensuring visitor safety and interacting with the public. This person will also oversee the entire conservation program.

Career Progression

You need to be passionate about the subject in order to work in this field. Many who enter the field are not focused on career progression, but on contributing to conservation and making a positive impact on the environment. As such, this is not a very competitive profession, and it would be up to you to map out your own career progress.

Knowledge & Skills

Knowledge

You need to have completed Advanced Level (Science subjects), but if you only have your Ordinary Level examinations, you need to complete a diploma or higher qualification in fields related to environmental science (zoology, botany etc.) English fluency is essential (ability to converse in a foreign language is a bonus).

Within a hotel, a naturalist would be asked to develop nature-based activities based on the environment or surroundings of the hotel (bird watching, butterfly watching, herb gardens etc.), develop information on environmental conservation and sustainable tourism, encourage the organisation to use environmental conservation projects and means (like solar power), interact with guests and educate them on the conservation projects carried out by the property (waste-water treatment, recycling plants etc.).

With some experience and training, a Naturalist can conduct mentor programs at schools and universities to encourage environmental conservation, or even become a trainer or lecturer on the subject. Hotels often invite students from neighbouring schools for awareness sessions conducted by the Naturalist. Naturalists also contribute by undertaking research projects on the environment and publishing research papers and articles.

Skills

Salary Scale

The salary scale of a Naturalist differs from the type of company or the nature of the property. This person could be hired by a national park which may pay a lower remuneration, or be hired by a hotel situated close to a national park which may pay higher, as such there are no fixed rates on how much a naturalist can earn. Their earnings can range from Rs.30,000 to Rs.50,000.