In the summer of 2013, Wandsworth teenager Maddie Pinkess travelled to Honduras to take part in the research project Operation Wallacea to induce a protection plan for the terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the region. Maddie, 18, completed the programme in preparation for her studying Zoology at university, as she aspires to embark on a career revolving around conservation and the protection of endangered species.
“I saw the trip as both the perfect educational opportunity, to give me hands on experience in my chosen career path and to help conserve rare species. When interviewing at different universities, a lot of professors said that the expedition would be an excellent starting point for my course.”
Maddie assisted research scientists and dissertation students to collect data in the Cusco National Park and on the island of Cayos Cochinos. The data is being used to compile a protection plan for endangered species under threat from deforestation for building coffee plantations and grazing cattle. Maddie also helped to develop a monitoring programme to protect some of the offshore reefs which have some of the highest coral coverage in the Caribbean.
“The experience was eye-opening and got me very excited about my university course! I plan to spread enthusiasm among younger people in my community, and at my old school, to encourage them to support causes like Operation Wallacea, and take part in similar projects in the future.”
As well as having the chance to work alongside experienced university professors and gain a real insight into a career in conservation, Maddie acquired the experience of living and surviving in the remote jungle. She learnt navigation techniques, where to find food and water, and also completed an open water diving course during the monitoring of coral reefs.
To find out more about Operation Wallacea, click here!
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