How do we identify? And what’s in a name? What should we call ourselves? Does it even matter?
One of the biggest frustrations for me in the wildlife space is that there’s no consistency around the names for us who occupy this world – and as a result, there’s no word that unifies us and identifies us all as a collective!
We all go by different handles – that label the work we do (or aspire to do).
Are you a field ecologist, biologist, naturalist, marine biologist, conservationist, wildlife researcher, environmental scientist, zoologist, botanist, land manager, environmental consultant, park ranger, wildlife carer, oceanographer, lab technician, natural resource manager, zoo keeper, eco tour guide, wildlife veterinarian, sustainability officer, tree planter, the list goes on!?
And that doesn’t include allies of wildlife-focussed roles – those of us who work in wildlife education, environmental engineering, social media, marketing, accounting, administration, environmental economics, project management, fundraising and development, animal welfare, nature policy and advocacy, environmental law – and more!
For me, the lack of a collective noun dissipates our voice and makes it harder to connect with like-minded people passionate about nature, wildlife and the outdoor world.
It can also be hard to distinguish between many of these terms because in all practical terms, what is the difference between a biologist and an ecologist? And this makes it hard to advertise jobs within the industry and find advertised roles that align with your skillset!
So, what do you identify as? And could we collect all these names into one super name?
I’m not even sure where I first heard this one, but I love the term wildlifer.
Wildlifer: a term that can include anyone passionate about wildlife or pursuing a career in this space.
But I’d love to pass the floor off to you – what do you think? And how can we bring everyone in this space together to unite our voices and share ideas under the one umbrella?
Let us know in the comments what you think the industry should be called!
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