Forging Futures in Conservation Careers


Lillian Wanja/Save the Elephants

Date Published

Conservation partners and Karatina University leadership at the symposium. © Save the Elephants/Karatina University

A symposium organised by Save the Elephants to encourage more students to pursue a career in conservation was held in central Kenya this year. There has been growing concern by the number of natural science students increasingly leaving the field for other sectors upon graduation, and it was hoped the symposium would help address the issue.

“During the administration of our MSc scholarships, we noted a pattern of undergraduates drifting towards other sectors due to limited knowledge about industry players and career pathways. The symposium aimed to bridge that gap,” said Nancy Odweyo, STE’s Head of Projects and Education.

More than 200 students gained invaluable insights from the conservation careers symposium which was held at Karatina University (KarU). Nine conservation organisations attended with the goal of connecting undergraduates with sector players.

One of the symposium’s standout features was its emphasis on inclusivity. Students explored  diverse roles within conservation, from field research to policy advocacy and community engagement. An engaging exhibition and networking session further enriched the experience.

Francis Kago of Born Free Foundation presenting at the KarU Career Symposium. © Save the Elephants/Karatina University

“The symposium provided a platform for students to understand existing career opportunities, gain insights from industry experts and network with passionate conservationists,” says Dr Flora Namu, Dean of the School of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Studies at Karatina University (KarU).

Representatives from Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Born Free Kenya, East Africa Wildlife Society, Ewaso Lions, Grevy’s Zebra Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Mpala Research Centre, and Space for Giants attended  the event. This was the first time multiple players in the conservation field gathered in one place to offer students career insights and opportunities.

University students at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy exhibition stand during the event. © Save the Elephants/Karatina University

For students from KarU and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, it was a chance to connect directly with potential employers. Collins Kibet, a final-year student at KarU says: “My expectations have all been met; I have been empowered and enlightened on career paths.”

In today’s rapidly changing landscape, grooming passionate and skilled conservationists is more urgent than ever. With continued support, STE plans to make this an annual event, expanding its impact and reach, whilst inspiring a new generation of conservation champions.

Read more about STE’s education efforts here.