Women in Science: the conservation biologist

Charlotte.Coales

Meet some of ZSL's female researchers and conservationists to discover more about their roles and what advice they would give anyone interested in pursuing a career in conservation science.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart is a Junior Conservation Biologist at ZSL.  Phoebe works in London and is part of our team of conservationists helping to monitor, study and protect the wildlife in and around the River Thames.

Junior conservation biologist Phoebe Shaw Stewart

What does your job involve?  

I work on citizen science projects (projects that involve members of the public helping to monitor wildlife) that are designed to gather evidence to inform conservation management on rivers throughout the Greater London area. 

The projects can range from species specific (European eel monitoring) to habitat protection (identifying pollution events and sources).  I help to set-up projects, train volunteers, gather and analyse data, and create reports.

Anyone who is 18 yrs or older can volunteer to be part of our citizen science projects.  You don't need to have studied biology... all you need is wellies, a willingness to learn from our experts and a bit of spare time to take part. 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in conservation science?

I have always been interested in the natural world, and there has never been another line of work that I have considered to be a long-term career option.  Having said that, there are a wide range of jobs available within the conservation sector, and working with eels, invertebrates and sewage wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice – more a result of enjoying working in rivers.

What's the best thing about your job?

Being able to work in one of the busiest and most dynamic cities in the world and still find areas of calm and quiet next to the river.  Also working with skilled and passionate volunteers is very inspiring.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to work in conservation science?

Go for it!  But make sure you allow some flexibility to make the most of opportunities as they arise.

Conservation Biologist Phoebe Shaw Stewart, in the field on the River Thames

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