What does the zoo mean to you?
The zoo means a lot to me, for many different reasons. It’s a place I often escape to with my camera, and to relax. It’s also a place I share many fond memories of with my family, learning about species I otherwise wouldn’t have known about! Chester Zoo has been a direct influence in my journey to a career in conservation. It’s also a place I feel truly valued as a young person in Youth Governance.
How have you supported the zoo, whether that be recently or over a longer time period?
I’m fortunate to live close to Chester Zoo, and spent a lot of time here whilst I was growing up. I’ve enjoyed attending many events hosted by the zoo, and watching the zoo grow.
Since joining the Youth Board, I’ve had a direct influence in change-making and future proofing the zoo’s successes. One of my favourites moments is the Youth Board’s fundraising contribution towards the ‘Save our Zoo’ campaign that was launched over lockdown.
Why do you feel so connected and passionate about the zoo and it’s work?
Chester Zoo, in my opinion has always been at the forefront of conservation. They truly care about the species they are striving to protect and are always willing to be at the forefront as pioneers. When I walk around the zoo, I get to see first-hand how many thousands of smiling people each day have a new and exciting experience focused around nature. The influence the zoo has on all generations is magical and one that makes me really proud to be part of their story.
What do you hope to achieve in your role on the Chester Zoo Youth Board?
Inspiring young people to connect or re-connect with the beautiful world around us and the incredible species within it. I’m guilty of turning into a teenager and completely losing focus and interest that I once had as a child for nature and wildlife.
Re-connecting to that passion that I had once again has been incredible and I just hope that within my role I can inspire more young people to stay rooted to their own passions and admirations as they grow up.
What have you got out of being a part of the Youth Board so far?
When I started on the Youth Board, I was working as a trainee accountant in the arts sector with no degree or any experience in conservation. I felt like a complete imposter but that feeling quickly disappeared when I discovered that regardless of my age, job and qualifications, I was truly valued and listened to by the zoo team.
The self-confidence I have gained over since I started has been incredible. I took a risk recently and changed my career path. I have now pursued a role in a large charity within the conservation sector where I am much happier. Chester Zoo undoubtedly influenced me to follow my true passion every day and I can’t thank it enough!