Words by Marama Tuilovoni
Working as a volunteer with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been very exciting. It has helped me contribute to something I care about and hold dear to my heart – the conservation of our natural resources in Fiji, and especially our diverse marine life.
My initial expectation was that because of my university background I would only volunteering in the finance department. However, I soon realized I was being given a larger opportunity to understand and contribute to the mission of WCS and to be a part of a team of dynamic and highly committed individuals. In my breaks I learnt as much as I could about the history of WCS in Fiji, and the challenges they face working on environmental issues.
I am grateful for the Director Sangeeta who has the humblest personality and the most welcoming spirit. The Finance Manager Nischal is a great mentor and teacher who has helped me develop new skills in my field. Yashika, Gander and Margaret have always guided and advised me during the more difficult and challenging moments I faced as a volunteer. Cagi and Ingrid were always so supportive. Dwain, Morgee, KK and Ged have been such inspiring examples of brothers, constantly pushing me forward. Work also would not be so lively without Waisea’s jokes.
One of my highlights was when I joined the two Directors, Sangeeta and Stacy, at a national workshop hosted by the Protected Areas Committee, which WCS is an active member of. I listened carefully as participants discussed and debated what a typology (or classification) system for protected areas for Fiji should look like. They discussed at length whether our current legislation was adequate or not for establishing a national network of protected areas, to conserve and manage our unique biodiversity.
As I finish off my last week with WCS, I find myself reflecting on what I learnt in these two short months. One thing is for sure, I understand the importance of giving 100% to any task I am working on as I am a part of a team, where every member’s contribution is important. Also I understand the importance of completing tasks well and in a timely manner. I am and always will be grateful for WCS and what it has taught me so far and I’m looking forward to learn more from them in the future. I wish them success in 2015.