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Happy Earth Day: Careers in the Environment

Updated: Apr 26

Since April 22, 1970, Earth Day has been an international holiday celebrated by billions around the globe. It is a day to emphasize the importance of supporting the environmental protection of the planet we all call home. Today, April 22nd, we will all hopefully remember to take care of our planet. So in honor of Earth Day, and my older brother’s birthday also today, I’m going to tell you about several different careers that you could follow that deal with the environment and the animals that live in it. 

Happy Earth Day and Happy Birthday, Cameron.

Zoology

Zoology is the scientific study of the behavior, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals. There are several different types of jobs that you could take in this field but I’m only going to show you a few.


Zookeeper

A zookeeper is an animal specialist who works in zoos or other wildlife enclosures to take care of and maintain the animals inside. According to Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden, a typical day in the life of a Zookeeper consists of cleaning and maintaining animal habitats, preparing food and feeding animals, training animals so there can be safe exams and interactions, observing animals’ behavior throughout the day, checking for signs of sickness, helping with medical treatments, and speaking with the public. When you go to your local zoo, you don’t see Zookeepers doing much, however as you can see, their jobs include so much more. So if you want to work with animals but don’t want to go into zoology, this job is for you.


Zoologist

Zoologists are scientists who focus on the study of animals along with their biology and interactions with the environment. They help us better understand animal ecosystems and the crucial importance of conservation. Zoologists work with wild or captive animals and take on a similar job as Zookeepers but with a more scientific approach with a focus on observation and research for the scientific community. However, unlike Zookeepers, Zoologists don’t typically work for zoos or animal organizations, they work for government agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources. Zoologists spend more time in their office writing and calculating their findings than out in the field doing hands-on research. 


Ecologist

An Ecologist is similar to a Zoologist in the study of animals but they also study their environment along with the plants and ecosystems in it. Ecologists do similar research to Zoologists in the sense that they study animals' interactions with the environment, however, Ecologists use this research to focus on the preservation of ecosystems and solving environmental issues. That is why Ecologists also study how humans interact with the environment. Ecology can also be a broad term for different types of environmental careers such as Marine Biology, Zoology, Geology, Botany, and Toxicology. 


Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife Conservation is the focus on protecting environments and ecosystems in order to protect the animals that live there. This career path focuses less on the study of animals and their environments, and more on the preservation of them. 


Conservationist

A Conservationist is an activist who advocates for the preservation and protection of the environment and its wildlife. This is a person who goes out into the field to deal hands-on with animals to learn more about preserving the habitat they live in. Conservationists tend to work one-on-one with landowners, state, and government officials to ensure the safety of their wildlife. This job typically includes planning and organizing projects to help your cause while researching to make sure every effort is helping. A job in conservation isn’t incredibly high paying but it isn’t too bad of a salary, especially when you’re doing something you’re passionate about.


Wildlife Researcher 

A Wildlife Researcher is essentially a Wildlife Biologist. They perform data analysis, write reports on findings, as well as plan and implement biological investigations that affect wildlife resources and habitat conditions. Wildlife biologists do very similar jobs and tasks as Zoologists with more of a focus on the environment than the animals. While this is an excellent career to go into, it can be a while before you start to make a good amount of money. However, this job allows you to work directly with animals and still have a scientific career if that’s what you’re interested in. If you think this career field is right for you, remember that this job can still be demanding, animals can be unforgiving and so can the weather during field research. 


Park Ranger

A more casual job in the wild is a Park Ranger. However, a park ranger has many jobs. They not only observe and watch over the parks that they work at but also ensure that guests stay safe and considerate when entering and teach them about the nature they are strolling through. Park Rangers should see protecting hikers, historical landmarks, nature preserves, and forests as their passion. Some positions in this field may even require firearms, a vehicle license, and the ability to operate a watercraft. As a Park Ranger, you can work anywhere from a popular forest preserve to a remote mountain post at many of the national parks. This career includes significant time outdoors and exposure to the environment.


Marine Biology

Marine Biology is the study of marine organisms, their behaviors, and interactions with the environment. It is a field similar to zoology but with the ocean and its aquatic life instead of land animals and breathable environments.


Marine Biologist

A Marine Biologist is the main job in the field of marine biology, it consists of fieldwork and office research similar to a Zoologist's typical day. Marine Biologists study marine animals, the ocean around them, the behavioral and psychological processes of the animals, and the diseases/environmental conditions that affect them. This job includes working with marine animals to study their lives and present your findings within the scientific community. The requirements for this job are a degree in marine biology or a related field and a passion for the ocean and its wildlife.


SCUBA Diver

Scientific Divers are Marine Biologists who spend a considerable amount of time doing fieldwork and research by diving into the environments they’re studying. They spend time with the animals observing them in their natural habitat and normal lives for better research results. Not all Marine Biologists have to SCUBA Dive and those that do need their Open Water certification. A one-week or so course is required to be allowed in this dangerous aspect of the aquatic research field.


Aquarists

Aquarists are essentially Zookeepers at Aquariums. They take care of the marine animals you see in aquariums the same Zookeepers do with their animals in zoos. Aquarists are those who work in or manage aquariums as a profession or hobby. They take care of the general well-being of the animals and make sure they are safe and comfortable in a controlled environment. 

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