This week we’d like to introduce the newest addition to the NACC team –Coastal and Marine Project Officer Vanessa McGuiness – who is based in Geraldton.
”I wanted to be a numbat.”
“I’ve had a passion for our environment for as long as I can remember,” said Vanessa, “so this is the perfect role for me.”
“I remember, when I was five years old, telling the face painters at community fairs and festivals that “I want to be a numbat!” To my disbelief. I’d often get the response:“What’s a numbat?” I’d always end-up leaving those fairs looking like something other than a numbat.”
Vanessa said her passion for the environment carried-on all the way through high school and university in her hometown of Perth, where she studied Environmental Science and Conservation and Wildlife Biology leading to an honours degree researching Natural Area Tourism Management in Shark Bay.
“From there, I took-up an internship researching the North Atlantic humpback whale population in Puerto Rico, but it was not only marine mammals we were studying,” she said.
“We were also teaching students from all over the world about the coastal processes of the island, and the types of changes in our lifestyle that we could make which could help protect these coastlines.
“After the internship, I travelled across the Americas – joining summer camps as an eco-adventurist, participating in turtle tagging programs, volunteering at wildlife refuges, and even scuba-diving in the Galapagos.”
Vanessa said she spent two years learning about different environments and cultures in the Americas, but realised there was no place like home and eventually headed back to WA.
“I joined Conservation Volunteers Australia – a not-for-profit organisation – working in Perth and Broome, which involved conservation, education and community engagement in various parks and reserves,” she says.
“It was the strong community engagement and involvement with the coastal environment that caught my eye with this new NACC role, and so I’m very excited to be the new Coastal and Marine Project Officer in Geraldton.
“I always get a big kick out of seeing local communities working towards common goals and objectives when it comes to protecting our environment, and achieving on-ground outcomes,” she said.
“From a work perspective, there is nothing better than being a part of a community effort conserving and protecting the fragile beauty of this beautiful coastline.
“I look forward to working alongside the local coastal community groups in the NAR, meeting like-minded people, and helping to develop programs and activities with the rest of the amazing NACC team that everyone can get involved in.”