CHOOSING A CAREER / JUL. 25, 2014
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Top Ten Jobs For Nature Enthusiasts

There is something so relaxing and captivating about nature. When you’re deep in the forest, there’s nothing but fresh air, chirping birds, streams of water, passing wildlife, and your personal thoughts.

Within our busy lives, sometimes we forget about all that nature offers us. Many have lost that vital connection with nature, allowing themselves to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life. For others, the connection is so strong that they spend their whole lives enriching the natural world.

When someone dedicates their career and life to nature, they get so much in return. The top nature careers allow individuals to experience some spectacular sites. Imagine working alongside whales, watching them gracefully swim past you. For some, this is another day at the office.

If you love the outdoors and have a real connection with nature, why not consider dedicating your life to the world that provides us with so much? Striving for a career in nature gives you the opportunity to give back. 

1. Farmers

Photo credit: Matt. Create.

Many have not only lost the connection with nature, but the connection with their food. Farmers are so important in terms of our food supply. Without farmers, we would not be able to enjoy fresh produce, dairy, and meat.

Farmers work outdoors, tending to livestock and crops. They have a thorough understanding of weather systems, soil, and anything relating to their specific sector. Most of the time, farmers will specialize in a specific area. Some farmers will specialize in crops such as grain and produce, while others will focus on livestock and/or dairy.

Although we commonly view a barn when we think of farmers, there are plenty of farming options. Aquaculture farmers for instance raise fish in pens or ponds. There are also farmers that specialize in wine grapes or hops.

Unfortunately, there has been a boom in industrialized farming. Although a large portion of farms are now run like factories, there are still many small, family, organic farms that highly respect the environment and the animals they raise. These farms practice sustainable measures, respecting the environment and the ecosystems involved. 

The salary of farmers widely ranges. Some farmers will start at about £13,000 while others will make £50,000+. It really depends on the sector you choose, the size of your farm, where you’re farming, and much more. If you’re interested in farming, speak to one of your local farmers about where to start. Most farmers learn through first-hand experience, while others will go to post-secondary school for agricultural management or a related field.

2. Zoologists

Photo credit: USFWSAlaska

Zoologists and biologists are involved in a wide variety of nature-based settings. Some will work in zoos, while others will spend their time out on the open sea. Although settings vary, their responsibilities are fairly similar. They study wildlife, collecting specimens, and creating protective plans of action.

Their main goal is studying animals in order to understand them. Once there is a more thorough understanding, protective measures can be taken. A marine biologist for example studies water-dwelling species. Sharks for instance are highly endangered, so it’s important to study their breeding patterns so that strategies can be implemented. Zoologists want to see nature thrive, protecting the species that call nature home.

Zoologists will have at least a bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related field (e.g. ecology or wildlife biology). Salaries generally start around £21,000 per year but can increase to £45,000+ per year when teaching and researching. If you were to seek work in a private organisation or industry, salaries could highly vary.

3. Park Ranger or Naturalist 

Photo credit: USACE HQ

This career involves connecting with both nature and people who take an interest in nature. These individuals tend to be highly passionate about their career, educating others on nature and wildlife. A park naturalist tends to educate the public regarding the ecosystems and animals that thrive within their local environment. This allows others to make a connection through the passion they have for the natural world around them.

If you have been to protected national parks, you know that there are park rangers available. These rangers provide information and advice to those who are visiting the park. Information will vary depending on the park in which they’re working for, but common inquiries include; water supplies, what hiking routes to take, local wildlife, plants that are a cause for concern, how dry the ground is regarding potential forest fires, and so much more.

Both rangers and naturalists may also take part in a wide variety of nature-rich activities. They may provide guided walks, plant trees, manage ponds, maintain and conserve habitats, work alongside local businesses to ensure a sustainable environment, and take part in field surveys.

The starting salary is approximately £18,000 per year up to £30,000. If you are interested in becoming a park ranger or naturalist, begin by volunteering with a well-known organisation. Some of the most well-known are; National Parks, National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, and more.

4. Geologist

Photo credit: Storm Crypt

If you are fond of Earth science and obtain a degree, you can land yourself a well-paid career. As a geologist, you would study the Earth and how it has formed over time. You may also study natural minerals and energy resources.

Positions widely vary as some individuals study volcanic activity, while others focus on water supplies. Whatever position you decide upon, you will be working closely with the outdoor world, building your knowledge and appreciation.

If you are interested in becoming a geologist, you will need to complete a degree in geology, geoscience, Earth science, or another related field. A starting salary is around £22,000, but can raise to £50,000+ with extended experience.

5. Wildlife Photographer

Photo credit: San Diego Shooter

Anyone who appreciates photography knows how much nature provides visually. A picture can say a thousand words. Many photographers will specialize in a specific subject matter. Wildlife photography takes dedication, talent, patience, and a bit of luck.

Capturing an animal feeding for instance, requires a photographer to wait for the perfect moment. During this time, they will be hanging out in nature. A photographer captures what they have experienced in order to share it with others. This time spent outdoors builds a higher appreciation and respect for the environment that is home to so many fascinating creatures.

If you are interested in photography and wildlife photography specifically, please feel free to check out this great guide. It provides you with all the tips you’d need to take the best possible wildlife photos.

Although many go to school for photography, others learn naturally. If you’re serious about photography, spend at least one day a week really connecting with nature. You would be amazed at what you witness. Once you build experience, you will be able to share nature through the photographs you take. 

Photographer salaries vary from one to the next. Some are paid hourly, averaging £10-15 an hour. Others will make £70,000+ a year. It really depends if you’re self-employed or work for a company. If you build a name for yourself, you can make a great living providing wildlife photography for others to enjoy.

6. Adventure Guide

Photo credit: GORE-TEX® Products

This position will vary depending on the country you reside in. Some adventure guides will travel with those that they’re leading. You may guide children, adults, or a mixture. This career not only requires you to love the outdoors but get thoroughly involved in nature, adventure, and travel.

You may want to provide tours via dogsled or guide an outdoor program through a mountain. Do to the activities involved, you will need to be physically fit. It is not uncommon for adventure guides to take part in any of the following; kayaking, rock climbing, cliff jumping, backpacking, camping, and so much more. Everything that you would do as an adventure guide would involve the outdoors.

The average salary for these adventure guides are £20,000, but this may vary depending on the skill and experience one possesses. If you ask me, travelling around the world is better than any payout.

7. Snowboard or Surf Instructor

Photo credit: European Snowsport

These careers are incredible for those that want to play while they work. Of course not all countries offer this career, but travelling is also an option. This can further enrich your over experience and connection with nature. 

As a surf instructor, you will be spending majority of your time in the water. You will feel the warm sun on your face while you witness passing marine life. A snowboard instructor on the other hand will spend their time in the mountains. As a snowboarder, you breathe in the coolest, freshest air. You’re surrounded by forest, really connecting with your surroundings.

There’s no formal education required, as skill is more important within this career. Many are raised by the beach or on the mountain, so these activities were a regular part of growing up. If you have developed these skills over the years, why not take advantage of what you can offer?

The salary of a snowboard or surf instructor will widely vary depending on how many students there are, what location you’re teaching at, your skill level, and much more. Instructors are generally paid hourly, unless you were planning on opening your own surf or snowboard school. On average, the hourly pay is anywhere from £8 to £12.

8. Landscape Architect/Scientist

Photo credit: snre

As a landscape architect, you will develop your design skills while connecting to the environment. This career would involve planning, designing, creating, and managing landscapes in a variety of settings.

This career would require you to:

  • Survey potential sites, identifying what plant, animal, and natural resources are present.
  • Meet with clients, building on design concepts.
  • Write environmental impact assessments.
  • Supervise the progression of projects.

Landscape architects work outdoors, but they may also work a lot indoors (e.g. using computer design software). A landscape scientist generally focuses more on geology, botany, soil, ecology, and conversation. As a landscape scientist you would:

  • Take part in habitat surveys
  • Plant and maintain sites
  • Create new habitats and sustainable environments
  • Analyse soil to look for the effects of pollution
  • Creating wildlife management plans

Both of these landscape careers would overlap, as landscape scientists often work closely with landscape architects. Both a landscape scientist and architect will make anywhere between £19,000 to £40,000+ per year.

9. Archaeologist

Photo credit: 10b travelling

This career allows individuals to uncover the secrets of our past. This will not only require you to love nature, but also have a vast interest in history. Archaeologists tend to specialize in a certain area, therefore duties vary across positions.

Some of the most common duties include:

  • Taking part in digs, which are generally done in a team. Some incredible discoveries have been made during these excavations.
  • Carbon dating artefacts.
  • Identifying areas that should be explored. This may involve aerial photography or surveying.
  • Recording details of their findings using both notes and photography.
  • Ensuring important sites are preserved.

Although these duties can be generalized across areas, most archaeologists will specialize in what they’re interested in. For example, they may study a specific time in history such as Roman. They may also be interested in a specific type of artefact, such as dinosaur bones.

You will need to obtain a degree if you plan on studying as an archaeologist. Starting salaries are around £16,000 per year, while more experienced archaeologists can make well over £30,000 per year.

10. Fish and Game Warden

Photo credit: kqedquest

This career will allow you to protect the wildlife that you care so dearly about. These commissioned peace officers enforce hunting, fishing, and boating laws. They patrol rivers, lakes, wetlands, back country, coastlines, and deserts.

If you became a fish and game warden, you would take part in the following duties:

  • Taking part in wildlife crimes
  • Managing wildlife populations
  • Tracking poachers to protect wildlife
  • Educating the public
  • Investigating damage to property by wildlife
  • Taking care of public safety regarding local species (e.g. bears, cougars, etc.)
  • Working in potentially dangerous areas such as; bogs, swamps, steep coastlines, and more

If these careers fill you with excitement, why not pursue one? Nature is meant to be enjoyed and it’s our job to protect the world we live in. Whether you’re interested in studying reptiles, or planting trees; careers involving nature are both rewarding and fulfilling. 

 

Photo credit: Ian Sane

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