Nikita Shiel-Rolle – creating change one wave at a time!
Nikita Shiel-Rolle is the founder and Director of the Young Marine Explorers in The Bahamas. She completed her Undergraduate degree at University of Miami and is currently working on a Masters of Science at the University of Edinburgh. Here she tell us about her conservation career so far…
Why do you work in conservation?
I work in conservation because I have a deep love for and respect for the environment, in particular the ocean. There are magical places on earth and underwater that are teaming with biodiversity and unfortunately humans are destroying them. I want to see a society that appreciates the many benefits that we gain from the environment and by expressing my passion through science and stewardship I hope to inspire others to do the same.
What is the Young Marine Explorers?
Young Marine Explorers (YME) is a non-profit organization that I founded in 2007. The organization focuses on environmental education and leadership development with High School and college students in The Bahamas.
What are you most proud of achieving through the YME?
I am most proud of the many YME members who have graduated from our programs and years later continue to remain involved as interns or volunteers to share their passion and inspire others.
What key steps in your conservation career you have taken?
I have developed positive relationships with conservation biologists that I respect and admire. These mentors have and continue to guide my conservation work and provide new opportunities for career development.
Additionally, wanting to remain in The Bahamas to develop YME, I enrolled in a distance learning MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health from the University of Edinburgh. The Masters program has been a challenging and essential step in my career.
One of the most influential moments for me has been my ZSL EDGE Fellowship, which has provided me with funding, additional training and support to carry out a conservation project in The Bahamas. As my two-year fellowship is coming to an end I am a much more confidant scientist with a long-term coral conservation project that I am spear-heading.
What advice would you give someone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Be prepared for a challenge because the conservation journey is not easy. Be dedicated and passionate about creating your vision a reality, and be prepared for a whole lot of hard work. Extremely hard work.
It’s not going to happen overnight, and your friends and family might not exactly understand what or why you do what you do, but remember that it takes unwavering crazy passionate people to attempt to change the way the world works… and some day you will do that – until then celebrate each little victory.
What’s your favourite song?
This was hard for me to select as my favorite song is always changing, however I decided on Vienne by Billy Joel.
Click to read more about the Young Marine Explorers.
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