I consider interacting with the public as important that my daytime job. While I can spend all my time planning for biodiversity conservation, it means virtually nothing without public buy-in. The public is after all the majority we rely on to fund conservation work, reduce their footprint, and to preserve our natural heritige for future generations. The public is also the ones that take ownership on a local level, which often has a greater impact that an article in a journal circulated among peers. Even for those who do not care or want to take ownership, I generally find the cause being a lack of exposure rather than ill will. As such, I am always eager to interact with the public.


My current public interactions include:


1. I actively engage with the public through both social media (via Facebook and Twitter) and news media to get the message of my work across to a broader audience.


2. I have lead a number of naturalist tours for dedicated naturalist groups, birding parties, friends, or even inquisitive people I unintentionally meet while naturalizing. Most of my guiding experiences have been in Africa, notably South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia. In recent years I have also managed to lead a number of successful trips in the United States through personal references and BirdingPal.


3. I have given a number of public talks in South Africa and the United States. These include a talk on butterflies to the Audubon Naturalist Society in Maryland (talk announcement here, videos of the talk here), a talk on my experiences on Gough Island to the New Hope Audobon Society in North Carolina (announcement here), and a talk about my cheetah research at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (video of talk here).


4. I am an active citizen scientist, regularly contributing to sites such as iNaturalist (where I am a curator) and ebird. I am also a quailified bird bander/ringer, a role that regularly brings one in contact with the public to explain your role in the bigger scheme of things.



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