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Following your dreams to work with wildlife with Ganyah Goldstein

Ganyah Goldstein (pronouns: she/her) is a wildlife biologist, conservationist, science communicator and wildlife career coach who shares her wild and inspiring journey to work with wildlife. We talk all about life as a conservationist – the feelings we feel, the adventures we have and the impact we want to create. Ganyah shares her top tips for pursuing this career path and finding dream experiences with wildlife all over the world.

Following your dreams to work with wildlife with Ganyah Goldstein | #itsawildlife

GANYAH’S JOURNEY

From a young age, Ganyah realized her passion for wildlife and so she researched and consumed as much content as she could to discover the wonders of the natural world. Ganyah spoke to her class about topics like poaching and the illegal pet trade – feeling genuinely upset by these issues. She explains –

“I was so upset because I didn’t know if I’d be old enough to see the things I want to see like the Great Barrier Reef and forests before they were bleached or cut down. I worried my kids wouldn’t see some of my favourite animal species!”

Ganyah felt this immense time pressure to get out and see the world – and do what she could to protect our precious wildlife. But when she first explored the option of working with wildlife, Ganyah was told she had to become a vet to live that dream. So, for two years, she worked hard to get into veterinary school, doing work experience at vet clinics and local farms, grinding hard from a young age.

“Sometimes life throws you things you can’t change… and it told me, nope, you’re not going to be a vet… I missed a grade to get into vet med and felt like my world was falling apart because I had literally worked so hard for it.”

“I took time to gather my life thoughts but in doing so, realized the reason I was doing vet was to work with wildlife. And so, I decided to take a year out to have an impact and learn about conservation.”

Ganyah saved up some money from dog walking and babysitting and At 18, she jumped on a plane solo and travelled to Costa Rica for a month-long volunteer experience at a wildlife rescue centre.

“That was my first introduction to true wildlife conservation, rescue, rehabilitation, and release.  And I absolutely fell in love with it.”

When she came back, Ganyah was re-inspired. She saved up, regathered her things and prepared for another program, this one on a game reserve in South Africa. Ganyah realized how many different approaches there were to conservation around the world. Again, she felt so inspired and returned to London to enrol in a four-year undergraduate degree in wild animal biology.

“I still had so much of a drive to start now, I didn’t even want to wait till the end of my degree.”

Ganyah was tutoring kids in Hong Kong online about wildlife conservation and dreaming about her next adventure in wildlife conservation. She wanted to do research abroad, and in her third year, studied elephant behaviour to improve the welfare of captive elephants. Following this, Ganyah accepted a Masters working with gorillas in Uganda. She shares –

“It really is an incredible feeling for things to fall into place and I think that aha moment was when I secured my master’s project.”

After applying for a scholarship just in case, Ganyah was offered this research project and suddenly had funding to make this incredible opportunity a reality.

Tune into the podcast to hear more about her experiences working with wild gorillas in Uganda!

CONVERSATIONS FOR CONSERVATION

“Something that’s been amazing to see is how social media can have such a positive impact.”

Ganyah believes that everyone can care and get involved in wildlife conservation – with, or without a degree – it’s all about knowing how to start. Ganyah has built an online community of thousands and thousands of passionate young wildlifers, who want to make a positive difference for nature. Community and conversations are both powerful ways to inspire people and connect them with opportunities where they can fulfil this goal. Ganyah shares –

“I always suggest start looking for experiences to get involved – in your local area or while you’re on holidays. Experiences are what’s going to change your life!”

“Social media is a powerful way to share your voice and inspire others to do the same!”

Like many of us, Ganyah shares that her initial experiences in the conservation space were isolating.

“I love meeting like-minded people because otherwise this field can feel quite isolating – none of my friends anywhere close to what I do. I am based in London which is a very different world! So, connecting with people all over the world has helped with that.”

Following your dreams to work with wildlife with Ganyah Goldstein | #itsawildlife

FREE WILDLIFE CAREER COACHING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AS AN ASPIRING BIOLOGIST

Ganyah’s journey with wildlife career coaching began when she started sharing her experiences as a wildlife biologist and blew up on Tik Tok and socials. People resonated with her content and all of a sudden, her inbox was flooded with messages asking for career advice. Ganyah shares –

“I realized I had absolutely no guidance when I was considering wildlife conservation, I had no idea how to make a career out of conservation if I wasn’t a vet. No one said I could be a scientist. I never even knew that was a profession. I went in fully blind to it.”

“I gained work experience in multiple fields around the world to create my own path. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping other and providing guidance and support.”

But Ganyah sees the support of a mentor as invaluable for assisting with decision-making and fats-tracking the journey to becoming a paid professional within the field.

And here are Ganyah’s top three tips for finding work with wildlife –

  • Build your skillset (especially those relevant to your dream job!)
  • Think about ways you can expand your experience and network – both locally and globally.

There are likely conservation projects and wildlife in your own backyard (or waiting to be started). So often we think of conservation as an exotic pastime where we need to travel to have an impact or work with amazing animals, but Ganyah shares – “When I talk with people from all over the world I ask them, what’s going on around you?”

  • Work hard towards this career and make sure you’re doing the most you can.

Above all, Ganyah encourages us to treat wildlife conservation as the competitive career pathway that it is, not with our classmates, but compared to other degrees out there, you need to be doing a whole lot more to stand out. Explore different job opportunities as they present themselves – and think about how you can sell yourself on paper – it’s all about highlighting your transferable skills. She shares –

“Don’t put limitations on what you might want to do!”

Ganyah also reminds us that you don’t have to be a biologist to work with wildlife – the field needs all kinds of skillsets to make a difference for global wildlife conservation. Ganyah encourages everyone with a passion for this field to share their voice and their story – inspire others and create change to help conserve wildlife and the ecosystems they rely on!

If you’re going to make it in this space, you’re going to make it – the question is not if, but how long will it take you! For Ganyah, wildlife career coaching is all about fast tracking your success. She explains –

“If you’re telling people, you can do this, but I’ve got no idea where you’re going to go with it, it can feel risky and intimidating to pursue this career. With the coaching, you can share the steps you need to take, the tools you can use and then have a look at what jobs you’d realistically want.”

Embracing Diverse Paths to Conservation Success

Ganyah’s journey into wildlife biology wasn’t a straight line but rather a mosaic of experiences, dreams, and hard work. She emphasizes the importance of understanding that everyone’s path is different and that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to finding fulfillment in conservation work. “Your dream is not competing against my dream,” she reminds us, highlighting the importance of embracing diversity in aspirations within the field. Ganyah shares –

“I really have like faith that if something doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant for me.”

Celebrating Achievements and Combatting Burnout

Burnout is a common foe for conservationists, often stemming from the relentless pursuit of perfection and the weight of responsibility. Ganyah advocates for celebrating achievements and taking moments to acknowledge the hard work put into conservation efforts. “We’ve put literally our blood, sweat, and tears into this field,” she remarks, urging a shift towards glorifying the contributions of conservationists and scientists. Ganyah shares –

“Something that all conservationists and scientists need to implement more often is just stopping to give yourself a pat on the back for what we’ve done so far, what you’ve been involved with. I see burnout so frequently in scientists, in academics, they work so hard and I just wish we could stop, reflect and celebrate that amazing body of work they’ve produced from time to time instead of always hustling onwards.”

Finding Your Niche: From Local Initiatives to Global Adventures

Ganyah’s journey took her from the wild landscapes of Morocco to the jungles of Borneo, highlighting the diverse opportunities within wildlife conservation. She encourages aspiring biologists to explore local initiatives and embrace opportunities in their own backyard. “There’s potential careers everywhere,” she asserts, emphasizing the importance of finding one’s niche and fostering connections within the community.

Cultivating Confidence and Resilience

Confidence doesn’t always come easy, especially in a field where uncertainty is a constant companion. Ganyah shares her own journey of cultivating confidence through a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability. “Just because you don’t know something, there’s always opportunities to learn,” she advises, highlighting the importance of embracing challenges and seeking knowledge as a pathway to confidence.

Embracing the Adventure of Discovery

In the ever-evolving landscape of conservation, Ganyah sees a wave of change on the horizon, driven by a new generation of passionate conservationists. She envisions a future where more individuals are inspired to join the cause, creating a ripple effect of positive change. “If more people care, there will be more change,” she enthuses, echoing the sentiment of collective action and shared responsibility. Embrace your journey and focus on what’s important to you. After all, Ganyah shares –

“So many of us come to this career because we love the wild and adventures and travel. You don’t want to rush that adventure, skip the good bit and then get stuck!”

In conclusion, Ganyah’s insights offer a beacon of hope for those embarking on their own journey in wildlife conservation. From celebrating diversity to fostering resilience and embracing the adventure of discovery, her words inspire us to chart our own course and make a difference in the world of conservation and navigate the wild journey ahead!

KEEP IN TOUCH

Want to hear more from Ganyah? Tune into the podcast or follow her adventures on Instagram @gardenofganyah, TikTok @ganyahgold or YouTube @gardenofganyah. You can send a DM or email her at ganyahg@icloud.com. If you’d like to book a 1:1 wildlife career coaching call, you can do that here. Otherwise, you can also head to her website and join her mailing list to stay up to date with her webinars, coaching and online courses – all about working with wildlife!

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