I’m Jaz, a 23 year old English Literature graduate and Wildlife Conservation student aspiring to combine a flair for storytelling with a determination to document and protect the natural world. I am currently based in Bristol, with the invaluable opportunity to have Bristol Zoo as my campus, but my hometown is just outside of London.
My passion lies in creating unique environmental narratives. I have gained experience in this field through my internships at BBC Wildlife and BBC Countryfile magazines, as well as writing for the travel magazine Business Destinations. I am fascinated by media production and have started to hone my digital skills through placements at Silver River Productions and the Walt Disney Company.
During my English Literature degree, I was determined to incorporate environmental and zoological focusses into my assignments. This resulted in me writing some very niche essays, such as an exploration of the presentation of zoophytical creatures in two interlinked Shakespeare and Plath poems for my ‘Literature and the Sea’ module and an investigation into the depiction of wolves across multi-media adaptations in my module on fairytales. For assessments in ‘Celebrity Culture’, I wrote a meditation on the reasons behind David Attenborough’s iconic onscreen influence and an exploration of the causes and morality behind animal celebrities. I ended up doing my dissertation on pirates, and dedicated a chapter to discussing the significance of the island wilderness.
My commitment to wildlife conservation is evident not only in my studies, but in the placements I have undertaken which combine animal husbandry and education for conservation. These include internships at Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire, the North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre and Bristol Aquarium. I am also a volunteer response driver for UK Wildlife Transporters, which involves transporting sick or injured animals to appropriate rescue organisations.
This academic year, I have been volunteering with the Wildlife Group at The Community Farm, focussing on encouraging and sustaining biodiversity on the site. This has involved the creation of a thorough Biodiversity Action Plan, involving tasks such as the building of a number of wildlife habitats and the wildlife-friendly maintenance of natural and manmade elements such as hedgerows and ponds. I have worked alongside various ecological specialists to carry out in-depth surveys and reports. I recently collaborated with the Owl and Hawk Trust to determine the presence of birds of prey and bats on the site and cater for these species. I also conducted a thorough research project examining the impact of human activity, as well as environmental factors, on badger activity levels, by using camera traps to monitor nocturnal badger activity.
I am a keen nature photographer and have been fortunate enough to undertake personal expeditions both locally and abroad for the purpose of documenting animals through this medium. Visiting South Africa was a particularly significant event for me, in addition to countries such as Nepal and India with fascinating endemic species to photograph. Closer to home, I have partaken in nature photography and videography workshops at organisations such as the British Wildlife Centre, the North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre, the UK Wolf Conservation Trust and the National Geographic Traveller Festival, where I attended a seminar led by Andy Skillen of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.