Rotary Club Talk

School News November 05, 2016
Rotary Club Talk

This week’s Rotary presentation began with the Head of Humanities Mr Cowen – introducing the idea of “An Alternative Science Career” giving pupils an example of where their studies can take them and how they can make a difference.

I have listed some of the key points from the presentation by Mr Cowan.

Yan Zhen (L6 Blake)

Why did he choose this work?

After studying Geography throughout my school life, I was always interested in the Rainforest. After watching documentaries from famous Geographers such as ‘David Attenborough’, I was hooked into trying to make a difference.

Where did he work and who for?

I was based in the Amazon Rainforest in South-East Peru for over two years. I worked for various companies but most notably; as a Lead Scientist on expeditions for Earthwatch, Expedition Leader for Biosphere Expeditions, Expert for the World Parrot Trust, and Project Director for the Tambopata Macaw Project. All these groups funded my research and I would not have been able to complete my work without them.

What did he do?

My research involved discovering the effects of deforestation on Parrot populations. To achieve this I had to seek out parrots in various locations and record their behaviour, diet and where they travelled throughout the day. Knowing this information enabled conservationists propose to the local government, in Tambopata, the importance of the national park to the ecosystem.

Was it worth it?

My work was part of a larger proposal which was submitted to the local government, and supported the local conservationists against the exploitation of natural resources in the area. I got to present my findings at Cambridge University in front of my idol David Attenborough, my work has been cited in scientific journals and at one point I was one of the top Parrot researchers in Peru (please see my blog for more information).


Overall, think about your chosen career path. It is not all about money and you can get just as many ‘bonuses and value’ from trying to make the future a better place.