Hi, I’m Julie
I worked in international species conservation for nearly five years before taking an extended sabbatical to pursue a masters degree in conservation. I started this blog in 2010 while I was on the Conservation Leadership masters program at the University of Cambridge.
After graduating I accidentally went on a Bike Trip Across Asia. I biked from Thailand to Switzerland with Adam Hughes, and I started writing about what I call “playground earth”. When I came home from biking I spent 5 months working for an adventure travel company in the Swiss Alps before returning to conservation job where I get to think about what works (also known as “Monitoring and Evaluation” or M&E).
Wilderness experiences are the main reason I became interested in the natural environment and protecting it. My motivation to work in nature conservation is to ensure that the beautiful natural places that inspire me remain intact, but I do recognize that in most places on earth the reality is that pristine wilderness is an impossible luxury and sustainable development, wise use of natural resources, and conservation that improves the lives of people should be our ultimate goals. I think that it is reasonable to pursue both goals, but I’m exploring the tensions and underlying values that support these perspectives.
At the frontier
The first name this blog had was “At the frontier” because when I think of what remains of a “natural” environment on the planet, I wonder what are our last frontiers and if there is anyway to keep them intact. “Natural” is a relative term and our aspirations for it need to be considered and assumptions challenged. Perhaps the deep sea is our last wild frontier, though who knows how long it will be until trawlers scrape it apart, and the reality is that humans are part of nature in most places. I hope that through my work and studies I’ll be at the frontiers of thinking about, living with and understanding nature and the people that live within it.