Podcast: Dr Kerry Kriger | SAVE THE FROGS!

Dr-Kerry-Kriger-Founder-of-Save-The-Frogs-holding-a-Litoria-chlorisToday we’re talking to Dr. Kerry Kriger, the Founder and Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS! Kerry is a powerhouse in the amphibian world, having set up an organisation to help save threatened frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and caecilians across the world.

And he’s got his work cut out. Of the seven and a half thousand species of amphibians 50% of declining and one in four are threatened with extinction. Since establishing SAVE THE FROGS!, Kerry, his staff and volunteers have organised well over 2,000 educational events in at least 57 countries, helping to enact new laws and creating and restoring and protecting critical wetland habitats.

In this fascinating discussion, we talk about his career journey from PhD to establishing the charity and he shares insight into the industry along with some practical tips on how to get your career going. As always, enjoy.

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Audio Transcript 

Kerry   

I am SAVE THE FROGS! Founder and Executive Director, Dr Kerry Kriger. 

Nick   

Great and lovely to meet you, Kerry, thanks for jumping on the podcast. So I read online that in 2003 you flew from the US to Australia to learn all about frogs and how to save them. And I thought it’d be quite interesting just to start the discussion around that really. What motivated you to get on that flight? What did you want to learn about frogs and then save them? 

Kerry   

Yeah, I was very interested in protecting nature in general because in my later college years, I started spending a lot of time outside camping and travelling around the world also, and I visit national parks and I’d see a lot of habitat destruction all around and I wanted to do something about that. And when I was growing up, I never thought of conservation as a career. It never even crossed my mind. But after I finished my mechanical engineering degree at the University of Virginia, and I wasn’t all too enthusiastic about mechanical engineering, though I did like science I started thinking, it would be pretty amazing to actually do something good for the planet and be able to spend a lot of time outside. So I started looking into conservation careers. The first thing that I did was send out letters actually mailed letters in the day before email was easy to a lot of different professors at the University of Alaska and University of Hawaii. And I spent a summer doing endangered bird research in Hawaii. And from that, I confirmed that I did indeed want to dedicate myself to an environmental career. Though I was not that into studying birds, even though I like birds, in part just because holding the binoculars up all day kind of was bad on my neck. So what I realised that I really liked is hanging out at streams because when I would go hiking, I’d spent a lot of time at streams. So I started thinking what lives on the streams and could use some help. And I heard that frogs were rapidly disappearing around the world, so kind of I never had any frog fascination at all, but just it just hit me. Part was it sounds kind of cool and a little bit strange too. And it was I get hanging out streams doing something interesting. And so I did a bit of research and I found out about a couple professors, amphibian biologists in Australia, and one of them said that he would indeed supervise me if I got accepted to his university. So, I did go to Australia and I did my PhD research at Griffith University in southeast Queensland with Dr. Jean-Marc Hero. And I spent about four years there, spent a whole lot of time in the rainforest with frogs and did I guess you could say fall in love with frogs. I really liked hanging out with frogs. They’re really interesting, amazing creatures and they don’t do anything to hurt us. They’re easy to work with. And the issue of amphibian conservation was very interesting to me. I also spent a lot of time in the laboratory. I did a lot of quantitative PCR molecular biology to detect the amphibian disease that I was studying, which is chytridiomycosis. So I learned a lot about amphibian disease. I went to a lot of scientific conferences, met a lot of amphibian biologists. And when I finished my time there about four years, I realised I still like working with frogs. All my expertise is with frogs and frogs are definitely rapidly disappearing. And one thing that I noticed in scientific literature is that most of the publications would end with a short paragraph that said, some conservation recommendations, and more research is needed. And that’s kind of how they all ended, but none of them were saying, and we are doing this to implement those conservation recommendation. So I was thinking a lot about who is doing, who’s putting these things into action. So I did a bit of research realise there was no amphibian conservation, there was no public charity dedicated exclusively to amphibian conservation. So my goal was to translate the science into action, and put a lot of that conservation knowledge into real world actions to benefit amphibians. So I founded SAVE THE FROGS! in early 2008. Our mission is to protect amphibian populations and to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife. For the first 18 months or so at SAVE THE FROGS!, we were purely environmental education, because I still have a belief that environmental education is the basis of all successful conservation. Because if nobody knows there’s a problem or cares about a problem or knows what to do about the problem, then not much is going to get solved.   

Nick   

You won’t care about well you can’t pretend what you don’t care about as David said, tell us a bit about frogs then, I mean, people know what a frog is intuitively, but I mean, how many species are there? How widely are they distributed? Have you got any kind of cool frogs that kind of stand out?  

Kerry   

Yeah, there are three main groups of amphibians there’s the frogs and toads kind of go together because all toads are frogs. And then there are the newts and salamanders which go together because all newts are salamanders. And then there are the caecilians which are the limbless amphibians that most people have never seen, including me. Unfortunately, I’ve never been fortunate enough to see caecilians in the wild because they’re not calling and they’re not congregating around ponds in their fossorial, which means they’re underground. So you kind of just have to luckily stumble upon one usually in a big rainstorm. Frogs and toads are very well known, they’re making a lot of noise. And as with most amphibians, they’re active when it’s raining, or they will be found living and breeding near water bodies, and that’s because they have permeable skin. And they have eggs that will dry up in the hot sun, so they always need to be near wet places, or they get active when it’s wet to breed. And so as I said, the amphibians have permeable skin and that’s really important. They can absorb water and oxygen through their skin. Whereas human skin is meant to keep stuff out and protect us. Their skin, it lets in oxygen and water, but unfortunately also bad chemicals, pollutants that are in the water. So that’s one of the problems that they face.  

Nick   

And how many species of amphibians are there? Yeah, and SAVE THE FROGS!, just a frogs, or is it for amphibians also?  

Kerry   

Now we’re amphibians. I don’t think we’ve ever had a caecilian campaign, but we’ve definitely had actions for newts and salamanders. But yeah, we’re called SAVE THE FROGS!. Actually, my original thought was going to be to call it save the toads. But then I thought maybe from a marketing perspective, SAVE THE FROGS! would be a name that would bring more people into it. So yeah, there’s about 7500 known amphibian species, it’s always on the rise as scientists either discover new species or rename certain species. But yeah, I don’t have the exact number but I’ll take a guess and say probably about 4500 of those are frogs and toads, maybe even 5000 of them. They’re the most bio diverse group and then there’s probably a couple thousand newts and salamanders and the remaining of species are the caecilians. 

Nick   

Big, big group then. So what are the sorts of the big issues that amphibians face? Are there of conservation concern? I’m assuming they must be because you have the organisation you do. But yeah, what are the big issues? Yeah. 

Kerry   

Amphibians are the most rapidly declining vertebrate group. So it’s about one third of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction, which means that if we don’t do anything to remove the threats they face, then we can expect them to go extinct in the near future. And it’s an even higher percentage, close to 50% are thought to be declining in numbers. So then the biggest problem that amphibians face, as with most species is habitat destruction, because there’s conflict between humans who want to use land, such as for agriculture and drain swamps and put up buildings and roads and all the things human activities that hurt nature. So that’s a big problem especially for the low land amphibian species because most humans live in the low lands we’d like to be in flat places near water. And our protected areas tend to be in the mountains where it’s difficult to build anyway. So the amphibians in the mountains don’t have as much habitat destruction, but unfortunately, they have a serious threat from the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, which in terms of biodiversity loss is the most significant, the most damaging disease that has ever been recorded not just for amphibians, but for any type of species worse than anything that humans have ever faced, because it’s driven about 100 amphibian species to complete extinction, mostly over the last half century or so. And that is caused by a Chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and that fungus is most lethal to amphibians up in the mountains because the fungus does well with cool temperatures. 

Nick   

And how does it attack them their internal organs or their respiratory? 

Kerry   

Well, it’s a skin disease and amphibians, when they’re breeding or fighting, they’re touching each other. And they’re in the water in the zoospores that’s fungal zoospores that are waterborne. So even if they’re not touching each other, but they’re in the water, then the fungus can spread and just land on the skin, it lives in the keratin of the skin. And it does a really good job of infecting most species of amphibians can be infected by it, and some won’t die from it or rarely die from it. But those species cause problems too, because they can just carry it on their skin and then spread it to other species. But there’s a little bit of debate how they actually die. The most recent publication that I saw was that it causes basic, basically cardiac failure.  

Nick   

Right. Yeah. So you’ve got a huge challenge ahead of you then as an organisation with so many species that are threatened across the globe, and huge issues, like the fungus you just described, and day one hour one SAVE THE FROGS!. What did you decide to do? What’s your approach to tackling this from kind of, you know the roots up? 

Kerry   

Yeah, well, my first decision was, I needed an organisation. And I didn’t have any non-profit experience, which may be a good thing because I didn’t think about any of the problems that I would have to face or any of the difficulties. And I’d actually during my PhD time, I think what was a huge benefit is I did not have any type of scholarship when I did my PhD, not at first anyway, so I had to apply for money. And I didn’t have any fundraising experience, but I got right on it with applying, doing some research looking into grant opportunities. And in my first year, I got two large grants, one from National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration and one from the Eppley Foundation, which is a fairly unknown private foundation, I believe, based out in New York. And so that definitely gave me confidence, maybe a bit of overconfidence, that it would be really easy. I thought, once I have my PhD, I’ll be able to raise a lot of money if I could do it without my degree. So I thought, I need to start a non-profit organisation. So I started just, actually, I remember having a pad of paper, pen and paper. I don’t use that too much anymore. I’m pretty digital. But I started writing out ideas. I started listening out people that I knew who would be of importance and just things that I wanted to take care of. And then I got a book on how to start a non-profit organisation, very thick book and I read it all through and fortunately it gave step by step advice, actually reread the book within the last year. Just have everything up to date all kinds of non-profit law, which is good to know if you’re starting organisation, it’s good to have some basis in the actual legalities. And then the other big book I read was a book on how to build a website, which at that time, I’m not too happy about it looking backwards, but it did work for seven years. I use Dreamweaver. And that’s because at my university, they gave a course on how to build a website in Dreamweaver. And so that’s why I decided to use Dreamweaver still got a book it was like that thick, it was about 1000 pages and I read it all and created the savethefrogs.com website. And that I’ve always considered as one of the most important things like the basis for our success was that I was able to build a website that could reach a global audience, get my thoughts out there, and that I actually knew how to manage the website versus someone who just pays someone to build a website. Usually those websites do not grow. So I put a lot of info up there. And as I said the first 18 months of SAVE THE FROGS! were exclusively dedicated to environmental education. So just, I guess going into detail about the things that I kind of answered for about three minutes during this discussion, but writing out full pages on all about habitat destruction, pollution, pesticides, fungal diseases, climate change, invasive species, all the threats to amphibians, the reasons amphibians are important, ways people can save them cool frog facts that people like frogs, and just getting all that info out there. Giving people a way to donate was definitely something I did in the first year, get a donation button up there, didn’t know if anything would come in, but money started coming in, which enabled me to keep on going. And let’s see maybe towards the end of 2008 I had the thought that when I was growing up, nobody ever taught me anything at all about amphibians. And that most students even in this era don’t learn anything about amphibians other than possibly how to dissect them. Now, I will say in 2020, a whole lot more students learn about amphibians and amphibian conservation than in the past, but it’s still a relatively small percentage of students. But back then I definitely considered it very important to get students and teachers involved and also politicians. So I started SAVE THE FROGS! Day and SAVE THE FROGS! Day takes place the last Saturday of April. And so we held our first Save the Frogs Day, April 28 2009. And we had 40 events take place in 15 countries. So I was very excited about that, being able to get a global audience that quickly. Volunteers, I didn’t have any staff at the time, and so SAVE THE FROGS! Day has always been one of our main activities. It’s basically a time where even if you don’t do anything else that year for amphibians but you have some interest and hopefully some knowledge of amphibians that would be an ideal time to go out into your community and do something beneficial for amphibians. So we’ve had all types of events take place on SAVE THE FROGS! Day. We’ve had protests, I led a protest at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC to raise awareness and call for a ban on Atrazine, which is an herbicide that can turn male frogs into females at two and a half parts per billion. It’s an endocrine disruptor. We’ve had lots of teachers holding educational activities for their students, field trips, taking people out to look for frogs. Lots of artists getting involved drawing up frog art, radio interviews, television, CNN has had a held a two minute piece on SAVE THE FROGS! Day so basically getting the word out and getting people involved and interested. 

Nick   

It’s been phenomenal. You’ve had over 2000 events so far. How have you managed to galvanise so much action on the ground? Is it just you? I mean, what’s the network that you’ve created? 

Kerry   

Yeah. Well, as I said, fortunately, I started with a network. Now I have SAVE THE FROGS! people, but just amphibian conservationists that I met when I was in Australia or at some of the national or international conferences that I went to. And I also I had published maybe 15 scientific articles on chytridiomycosis and amphibian declines. So, you know, I had some people who maybe I hadn’t met them knew who I was, and then also there was a need for SAVE THE FROGS!, there still is, in that lots of people, if they’re concerned about amphibian conservation and not just amphibian science, then I think most people realise like, there’s a need for this and there’s not much going on educating the public or getting the politicians involved trying to get legislation. And you know, it’s a cool name SAVE THE FROGS! and people have always liked our website and frogs fortunately, while you know, they may be scary to some people, a lot of people think they’re cool looking and certainly some frog species are undeniably cool looking. So you can put some good photos in front of people. And, you know, it’s kind of fun. I’ve always tried to make save like we do get serious as I said, we’ve had protests and we’ve, we’ve had campaigns and legislative activities, but most of the time I am trying to keep it fun, and make it something that people want to get involved with. And then also, things like Save the Frogs Day, or I think anything you do, when you get people involved you make sure to give those people credit and put them out into the public such as the volunteer wants to see their event online, photos of their event and event report. It’s good for them to keep them going but also it inspires other people and with Save the Frogs Day, every year, I always say what countries were involved and I always say, you know, what countries have been involved. And I think sometimes there’s a bit of kind of national pride, like, no one from my country is doing this, and then people will set something up. So, and then, I guess me, I always try to set a good example. Like, I don’t just ask people to go out and do stuff. I’m always out there doing stuff too. So I’ve given about 400 presentations, and I’ve given who knows how many radio interviews and podcasts interviews and been on television and you know, always thinking about how to get the word out. I like your Conservation Careers’ poster back there. We used to have a pretty ongoing poster creation system going on. So we printed thousands of posters and probably 10s of thousands of info cards about frogs and on top of all of our digital stuff, so just thinking of how to get the word out there and get people, give people ways to help. 

Nick   

That’s impressive. So as the founder and leader, Director, Chief Executive Officer of SAVE THE FROGS!, how would you describe your role? What’s your job like day to day, you know, someone who you know, who doesn’t understand what it’s like to do a job like yours? What’s a typical day or week or month you know what sorts of activities?  

Kerry   

Yeah, so it’s always changing based on what’s going on. So there is like, sometimes I have to fundraise. Sometimes I have to do administrative stuff. Like yesterday, I was filling out government paperwork, not my favourite thing every time. Every time I do it, I’m like, why am I doing this? But you know, it’s the kind of things it’s so that the other months of the year you can do the stuff that you enjoy the stuff. I, you know, I like creating content. I like writing articles. I like developing the website. I’m big into website development. And you know, I like coming up with educational materials we’ve had SAVE THE FROGS! magazine, we’ve had lots of posters, we have created lots of merchandise before. And I like doing graphic design. And I think graphic design is really important as far as you know, you got to produce these materials that people want to, they want to share. And you know, they’re going to do because I don’t like paying for advertising. I have in the past, but I’d rather just people be so inspired that they’re going to share it. Then we have like I probably our biggest advertising we ever paid for and it’s done well for us. We’ve been offered advertising, like huge posters in airports. So like Chicago O’Hare, Denver International, some major airports, we just have to pay for the printing of the poster, but the advertising or the poster space is free. And some of those have been up for literally like eight years. So it’s kind of cool. 

Nick 

What does it say on this poster? What’s the call to action?  

Kerry   

Yeah, they’re different. One that’s been up for a long time has a Columbia spotted frog which lives in Yellowstone National Park which is the world’s oldest protected area. And it says really big my palms are drying up and then it has a maybe small it says you know something more direct about the effect of climate change on that frog and then it probably has a link to savethefrogs.com, our climate page so they’re usually just like, you know a big picture of a frog to grab somebody’s attention and then just some environmental message and then it always tries to get people to the savethefrogs.com website. 

Nick   

Yeah, great. You just so full of energy and drive and the volume of activities that you’re involved with, or you know, generating from other people is impressive like what keeps you going, what keeps you motivated? What keeps you positive? 

Kerry   

First of all just the statement on positivity. I was probably pessimistic in the days before I ever was involved in conservation but whenever since I got I see the impact that people can have I know the impact that I’ve had. And so I think, you know, we can all get a lot done. It’s not a matter of nobody knows how to improve the state of our world, like lots of people know that. A person just has to take action and they’ll see that they can do stuff. Now, some people may say, is it fast enough? Is it enough? But you know, I’ve never been like, you know, what am I going to do? Say no, it’s not fast enough, I quit and then just you know it’s like we do what we can do and fortunately, yeah, I do enjoy it. You know, there’s parts of as with any job, there’s parts of the job that are you know, not always the most enjoyable things but overall, like, I like I get to connect with like minded people, interesting people, motivated, intelligent people. I get to fortunately go out. It’s been a while right now, but because all the parks near me are closed. But, you know, in general, I get to go out and spend time with frogs or in nature and it’s interesting. You know its meaningful work. I think that’s going to be the key with anything you do because as a career, when we talk about career, we’re usually talking about more than just temporary job like these are things that it may not be your whole life, it maybe your whole life, it may just, it may be 5-10 years, but you know, even 5-10 years, that’s significant amount of time. So it’s got to have meaning for you. I don’t think anyone’s going to survive happily in any job, if, you know, it doesn’t have meaning. So make sure you pick something that you do care about.  

Nick   

What are the things you think that help people to get hired more quickly in the sector? What the good people do that helps them to stand out? 

Kerry   

Yeah, so as I said, I had studied mechanical engineering. I’ve always been into science, but mechanical engineering was not really you know, that was not my calling. So I knew I was ready for a change and I did not want to commit to anything huge until I was really certain of what I was getting into. And that’s why, as I said, I went to Hawaii and I volunteered with grad students, confirmed that I was into, you know, a career in environmental science. So first, like, make sure you know what you’re getting into, like, people should volunteer. And especially in this type of work, you probably have to volunteer. There’s, it’s fairly rare to just bam, get a paying job. So go ahead and volunteer, make sure you do like what you’re doing, pick up some skills, get some connections, and then when you do decide that’s what you want to do, then I guess it’s going to come down to a question of do you have the skills to get a job? If you can get a job, get a job, if you feel the need to go to university or whatever kind of learning you want to do, then seek out the best, seek out the person you resonate with. So I looked for supervisors and I had to find one who was interested in what I was interested in, who lived in a place, unless you’re going to be remote, which is possible in this era, but back in 2003, I knew that I was going to wherever my supervisor was. So, you know, make sure they’re in a place you want to be, make sure you can get along with them. Do a bit of research into them. Maybe even talk to one of their other students or employees and make sure you know, just you, you have to do. Don’t assume that just because a person’s famous or anything that they’re going to be easy to work with. So do better research. And then once you decide, you know, I flew to Australia. I was prepared to do that. I was, you know, I was happy to do that. I like to travel. That’s part of the reason I wanted to go there. So but you know, I was full in for four years for certain. And then I started saving the frogs because I was still passionate about getting something done. And ever since then, you know, you just sometimes what keep, your question before is what keeps me going you know, sometimes it is like I want to help the world I, but sometimes it is just, I just want to, you know, do an excellent job at the thing that I’m employed to do. So, you know, not every day do I wake up saying I need to SAVE THE FROGS! or I feel the need to SAVE THE FROGS! today. But I feel the need to have an organisation that runs smoothly and get stuff done and is always improving. So sometimes it’s just, you know, I’m in from running a business for many years. I’m interested in improving the business because I know that’s going to make my life happier. It’s going to get more done for the organisation, and also as a career and being in something for five years, 10 years, 20 years, maybe you do always need to keep in mind your lifestyle because if your lifestyle has a conflict with what you’re doing, then eventually you’re going to burn out and need to change. So always you know, I’ve designed SAVE THE FROGS! in large part to save the frogs but also to make sure that it’s something that I’m going to want to be part of and be able to continue for a long time. Because as the years go by, I realised that you’re going to get the most done by persevering and by being in it for a long time. So if you burn out, if you run out of energy, if you run out of money or anything like that, and it’s over, then it’s over, not that you can’t start again and do something else, but long term, always trying to think of, you know, how can I keep happy in this profession and keep everything going.  

Nick   

And allow it to kind of evolve with you. Yeah. One thing you raised there too, I’d like to discuss a little bit more as well is sort of volunteering and kind of getting experience, getting hands on, you know, doing this sort of role that you might be interested in using to kind of explore but also to build your resume if you like. How can people choose the right volunteering for them? There are so many options out there nowadays. Some will cost you know, lots of money, some are free. Some are even paid you know, It’s almost bewildering. What do you think is important when people look to kind of get that sort of experience? How did you choose Hawaii for instance? 

Kerry   

Yeah, I chose Hawaii. Well, as I said, I sent out letters to I believe every single Biology professor at the University of Alaska, and at the University of Hawaii. And it’s because I have travelled around most of the continental US. I had been to Alaska and liked it. And Hawaii I’d never been to and I so I just thought like, I want to go to these places. Yeah. And so yeah, I sent out letters to all of them and I think only one responded. And that’s kind of been the story of my life. Sometimes in very critical important things, only one guy has responded or I only got accepted at one place, but it didn’t matter because it was the right guy, the right situation. And that’s all you need.  

Nick   

But more broadly now what advice would you give someone nowadays who’s looking at volunteering? 

Kerry   

Oh yeah these days, well, in this day and age you have the internet and you can do your research and you probably already know. If you’re inspired to do something, you know, hopefully you’re listening to podcasts or you’re visiting websites of the professors or the organisations that intrigue you. You get their newsletter. So one thing is, do get their newsletter, do listen to their podcasts, get to know who they are and then that’s where I would start is that if you really like what they do, and want to know what they know, and help out, then you need to get involved in the programmes if you can, in general, you should be able to educate yourself. They probably have free materials. They probably have web pages, podcasts, videos like go on education splurge. Like just learn as much as you can, because then you’re going to come to them a lot smarter, and you may already be doing stuff and you may already just build a relation like you don’t need to take up their time. Remember that the professor, the CEO, they’re always busy, they always have too much to do. They may have more. I know me personally, I’ve got people writing me to volunteer, and I don’t have the bandwidth to bring them on and train them. I wish I did. And it’s always my goal to how can I make use of these people? So what if you come and you already know what’s going on, then it’s a lot easier to onboard you as a volunteer and to accept you as a volunteer, because you’ve already been doing what you can on your own. I wrote down a few things.  

Nick   

Yeah.  

Kerry   

So one is carve your own path. That’s what I did. There was no amphibian conservation, public charity, and there was no career to do the kind of things that I do. And it did take a whole lot of perseverance and it was not easy, and it’s still not always easy. You know, it’s easier than it was 12 years ago. But you know, always keep in mind, what do you actually want and always move towards that because you may get offered. I got offered a job doing this thing and, you know, it’s not exactly what I want, and maybe it’s a good thing to take it up, maybe hopefully you’ll learn something. But always keep in mind what’s your overall vision of what you want to do. And then so, yeah, volunteering, interning, you can either just, you can look on the website of whoever you want to volunteer with and maybe they have a page you can do an internet search, like volunteer this organisation, like, savethefrogs.com/volunteers. We have info out there for volunteers. And then also, you could just email them and say, how do you do? I’d probably ask, like, do you have a page listing volunteer opportunities? Or maybe say, what’s your skill? It’s always best to know like, how would you help this organisation? Because if I have to take five minutes to think about like, I don’t know what your skills are like, what do you know, what can you do? What do you want to do? How would you be happy because I want my volunteers to be happy and doing something that they’re good at. So it’s good, like if you already have a few ideas of how you want to help out. So aside from that there are plenty of websites like volunteer match comes to mind. It’s not for environmentalist, but it’s just they list volunteer opportunities. And I know it because occasionally SAVE THE FROGS! will need someone perhaps with some specific skills. And I’ll put up a advertisement on volunteer match. There’s plenty of websites like that. And they work pretty well. People write me. So you could just get online onto some of those kind of volunteer websites that just list volunteer opportunities and just see what’s up there, do some searches. And so let’s see other stuff, a key point here and this comes back to the fact that the professor and the CEO, they’re always busy. So follow up is super important. Like if I see your email one time, okay, cool. I’ll get to that later. Yeah, I’d like to think that I’m so good with the email that I’m going to get to it right now but I’m not okay. So but if you email me again, not tomorrow, but in a week or two or three, then I know something about you. I know that you are actually dedicated to this. I know that you have some follow up skills, like maybe you even put a note in your calendar, maybe you use a calendar, and I know that you’re interested. And I know that I’m going to feel bad if I don’t reply to you. Like, if you are I try to reply to everyone, but it may take me a while to get to you. So but if I know like, this person’s on me, so I think follow up goes a long way you’re going to get a lot more opportunities simply because you followed up.  

Nick   

And by definition, I see the busy people are the people that actually need help, but they also have the least amount of time to find those people. 

Kerry   

Yeah, certainly. So self study I kind of alluded to before, like, you know, that studying up on the organisation but also realise like, in this day and age, there has never, ever been a time where you had so much access to free and while I’m not a big fan of completely doing everything on your own, because I know the importance of a mentor, you can definitely whether or not you have a mentor, you should always be doing self study. So watch the videos, read the web pages, get the books, read the journals, listen to the podcasts and make that a part of your career, even after your nine to five or whatever, after your official job, the computer stops, you should always be learning stuff, and that’s going to, you know, it’s crucial to your career. And then my final point I wrote down was build your own website or platform, maybe your platform as a podcast, maybe you’re big into social media. It’s not I wouldn’t suggest like depending on some other company because they may stop your counter, who knows what but whatever it is, like as you start to learn and as you start to get skills you should become the content creator and always keep consuming content and learning from others. But get your stuff out there, whatever that is. So we’ve had SAVE THE FROGS!, we’ve had poetry contest, art contest, video contest, essay contests, you know, and some of these people they write in and they’re just beginners with amphibians, but they come up with cool stuff. And there’s nothing, you know, if they put in the time to do something, then cool, get you know the person if that’s what they want, I’m just throwing out those examples. Like, you don’t have to have a tonne of skill. Whenever you start, pick up some skills and do some things and start putting that info out there because there’s always someone who knows less than you do. And you can start to educate them. And then eventually, you’ll have a massive platform, hopefully, especially if you can actually build your own website, which I highly recommend learning how to build a website and just get your stuff out there then because then people will start to contact you. And it’s always better when people start contacting you. It’s a lot easier to get stuff done. 

Nick   

When your application drops in and an employee does some research around you jumps on your LinkedIn profile they can go deeper and actually see the website you’ve built. It’s all there. Yeah, you know that you can have that ready made package. Yeah. Kerry, it’s been such a pleasure kind of talking to you and getting to know you and hearing about your story. I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen next, over the next 5-10 years we SAVE THE FROGS! with all this energy and enthusiasm. How can people get involved and support SAVE THE FROGS!? You know, what can people do? What should we kind of share with them? 

Kerry   

As I said, I like building websites. Savethefrogs.com has at least 1000 pages of info and I’d say to start is go to savethefrogs.com and go click there’s a start here link at the top that’ll take you to SAVE THE FROGS! Academy and you can get 28 days free access to SAVE THE FROGS! Academy where we have online courses about lots of different amphibian conservation topics. So I suggest go there and go all out for a month and if you’re inspired or even if you don’t feel like the need, wait 28 days. We’d love your financial support. We have savethefrogs.com/donate. You can become a member to get permanent access or long term access to SAVE THE FROGS! Academy and different offerings that we have specifically for members. We do have a volunteers page and there’s a search bar on the site for whatever you want to find out about amphibians put in your search term and you’ll probably find something relevant. And aside from that, just educate yourself like we built the website and have all that info up there for a reason even if even if you never get you know like one on one involved with me or with staff or anything official, you can still be in the background reading up educating yourself and learning how to improve your ecological footprint and otherwise help amphibians or whatever aspect of the environment that you’re interested in. 

Nick   

Fabulous, sounds like a great place. We’ll drop links into the show notes as well so people can click to find out more about the Academy and find out more about SAVE THE FROGS!. Yeah, this is wonderful. Thanks again, Kerry for jumping on the podcast. We wish you all the very best and yeah, keep in touch. 

Kerry 

Okay, awesome, thank you Nick and good luck with your podcast and everything that you do for the environment. 

Nick 

Thank you.  

Nick   

Okay, well I hope you enjoyed that everyone. If you did then please do hit that subscribe button to get notified when new episodes are live and also give the ratings it really helps us to get in front of more people. If you enjoy the interviews, we’ve collected the best advice from over 400 professional conservationists into a free eBook, which you can download from the bottom of our website. And finally, if you’ve got any questions or suggestions for the podcast, please tweet them to @ConservCareers. We’d love to hear from you. Okay, till next time, guys, this is Nick signing out. 

 

Careers Advice, Conservation Enterprises, Interviews, Organisational Management Conservation Jobs, Podcast, Senior Level

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