- Published 01/06/2021 Volunteers’ scheme at Bristol Zoo Gardens clocks up 30 years
Student Georgia Merrell has volunteered at Bristol Zoo Gardens and now at Wild Place Project and she loves every minute.
In fact the 24-year-old is hoping it may help her land a job in conservation and wildlife.
Speaking during Volunteers’ Week Georgia, who is currently part-way through an MSc in wildlife conservation, said: “I would recommend volunteering 100 per cent. I have learnt so much doing it, met people and made connections.”
She is so dedicated that every week she cycles for 45 minutes from her home in Easton to spend time helping at Wild Place Project.
She said: “I really love being there, there’s so much open space and to be surrounded by such amazing animals is a real privilege.”
Georgia took a degree in wildlife conservation at the University of the West of England which included lectures by conservation experts from Bristol Zoological Society, and a 12-month placement in Ethiopia working in the Bale Mountains National Park.
Georgia said: “Until my degree I didn’t understand the real role of zoos but then I learnt about the amazing conservation work that Bristol Zoological Society does across the world and I realised this was an organisation I would love to be involved with.”
Her interest led to her volunteering at Bristol Zoo Gardens where she was a ranger spending time in the gorilla house and in the butterfly forest.
After graduating Georgia spent 18 months working in bars, cafés and doing admin for the NHS before signing up to take an MSc.
That has involved her carrying out field studies on rewilding at a farm near Nailsea and looking into ways of restoring natural peatland to the Somerset Levels.
Georgia said: “I would love to go into rewilding, helping landowners understand it and project-plan their land.”
But for now she is happy studying and lending a hand at Wild Place Project.
She said: “It’s been a life-saver for me. It’s such an amazing place. I would recommend volunteering to anyone but especially those with an interest in conservation and animals.”
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