During Nikolay's placement with CETUS, he gained invaluable field experience.
CETUS Research and Conservation is an organization dedicated to protecting the lives of whales in the wild through research, education and direct intervention. CETUS was founded in 2005 to address the increasing endangerment of BC’s killer whales due to human activities and focuses directly on one of the three key contributors to killer whale endangerment: vessel traffic disturbance. They work in the field to protect whales and other marine mammals from harassment and harm.
Direct Action Ambassadors with CETUS primarily work as Robson Bight Wardens, living on West Cracroft Island, BC. This involves educating boaters, kayakers and park visitors about the boundaries of the Robson Bight Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve as well as the be whale wise marine mammal viewing guidelines and regulations.
Already an outdoorsy person, Nikolay learned how to live full-time in a remote environment. He learned how to spot cetaceans, data collection and entry, and teaching the public about how to Be Whale Wise. One of his favourite skills that he taught himself was taking notes about what others were sharing with him, like recommendations, networking, and other ideas.
What was your biggest challenge?
Nikolay’s biggest challenge was managing his boundless energy, especially when others around him weren’t up to engaging with him. Anticipating personality differences, as part of Direct Action all four Ambassadors created a Team Charter prior to arriving on West Cracroft Island that helped them to get to know each other and to set expectations while they were onsite.
What was your most valuable takeaway?
Nikolay had been wanting to work in field research for a long time, and it was amazing to finally be able to practice for the first time. He also made some valuable network connections, not only with CETUS staff, but with other organizations working in whale research and conservation. Most important were the friendships he formed with other Direct Action Ambassadors.