Police, crocodiles and Penguins

Earlier today I submitted my Best Jobs in the World second round video. When I say today, I mean about 2am. I’m a little tired.

The whole process was intense, in a really positive way. Putting full time work together with making videos, creating social media content, reaching out to traditional media, and planning and pulling off an all-weekend outreach/stunt didn’t leave a lot of time for sleep, and when I did lie down horizontally, my mind was always churning with ideas.

An image of a pedalo boat in the Serpentine

This was a particularly hamstring-stretching iteration of my Quiz.

But being tired was the only real downside. I experienced an outpouring of support and endorsements that exceeded any of my expectations. I had friends who worked their connections, mates who joined me at the pub for brainstorming sessions, family proofreading my CV and getting out and about drumming up support, a gang of willing helpers who dressed in crazy outfits and were mobbed by children, and people I know (and some I don’t!) sending me endorsements from all over the world. Whether or not I make the next round, the last fortnight has been filled with highlights that remind me how lucky I am to know so many great people.

YOU were my ultimate referee - more than 160 of you!

YOU were my ultimate referee – more than 160 of you! (note: the mosaic software was being a bit difficult, so I think there are a handful of duplicates and some people missing :-( But I promise I saw and appreciated every single photo!)

Plus, I wandered all over London with a crocodile and a kangaroo, talking to strangers about some of the most inspiring natural places in the world. I mean, come on! How good’s that? It was so much fun that one of my friends wondered aloud why we don’t just do this stuff for kicks, and I’m a little inclined to agree!

An image of Dave and animals in front of the Serpentine lake

As it turns out, dressing up as a park ranger means people just accept that climbing up on things is the most natural act in the world.

I now have to wait until the 15th May to find out if I’m in the final 3. I think I have creatively interpreted the brief (constrained a little by not being able to work on it during normal hours) but I’m sure lots of the other candidates have come up with brilliant stuff, so I’m going to try to put it out of my mind for a week and just see what happens.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the great people I met on my travels:

An image of Dave, Dave and Squash in Hyde Park

This is Squash Falconer (left) and Dave Corn (right), who are travelling 3000 miles around Europe on Elliptigos (the contraption on the right). Smiling adventurers, raising money for charity – click on the picture to find out about their epic trip.

David and Coppafeel! representatives.

Coppafeel! representatives – a breast cancer awareness initiative aimed at younger people. It was a pleasure to have a chat with them, and such an important subject. Click on the image to visit their website.

Image of Dave on a police motorbike

Also, a big thanks to Officers Lee and Alex for letting me jump on their bike. It’s bloody massive!

And with that, I’m going to put the best jobs in the world to one side for a bit, and think instead about nanocellulose, optogenetics, drones and lego bridges during the day, and, well, a heck of a lot of not much in the evenings!

Oh, and you might be wondering why there are Penguins in the title of this post.

Bit of a long story.

Categories: communication, environmentalism, Fun Things On Land, photos, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ranger Dave’s Queensland Quiz


This is going to be a very short post, because 12 hours of running all over London’s busiest landmarks (often literally!) with a crocodile and kangaroo in tow has tired me out. I’ll give an update soon with lots more photos and stories of the great people I met.

So here’s a picture or two to give you a clue about what my weekend’s been like so far:

Ranger Dave Phone Box

I have no idea how many people took my Queensland Quiz, but it was a lot! I’ve been in London for two and a half years without doing the Phone Box shot… how could I miss the perfect opportunity at Trafalgar Square? And these kids were just a couple of many who took the Queensland Quiz, with the London Eye and Big Ben in the background.

And if you want to be my Ultimate Referee, but haven’t gotten your endorsement in yet – get cracking!

Categories: communication, photos, Science, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Queensland: Memories and Dreams

Queensland is a state that holds many memories for me. I’ve been from top to bottom, but it is so immense that I feel as though I’ve barely explored it at all. Whether it be recalling the search for pale headed snakes at Lake Broadwater after a desert thunderstorm, or my unfulfilled ambition to visit Eungella National Park and see a wild platypus, it captures my mind.

An image of a serene bay on Cape York

A memory.

This photo is from the sweeping bay just southwest of the most Northern point of the Australian continent: the tip of Cape York. It was one of the highlights of my 2010 trip; the evening was calm, and the gang of fellow travellers I was with quickly found our usual childish excitement morphing into a contemplative serenity. A lonely yacht was anchored in the bay, and tiny but perfect lines of swell wrapped along the flat, sandy beach. We watched the sun set and dawdled back to the car one by one, stepping over stingray holes and staring at the sky.

An image of a solar farm in the Australian outback

A dream? Image: Wikimedia Commons/Aaronazz

From the far North to the deep West, I’d love to visit the Diamantina National Park. While the picture above isn’t the most illustrative, I like the fact that there are communities out in the desert tapping into the huge source of renewable power in the sky!

The Diamantina beckons me because it’s so remote. Australia’s inner landscape is so alien, so harsh, and so beautiful. It’s a place where you can find true silence away from cities and flight paths, and adventurous people are rewarded with experiences that few share. There’s also surprising biodiversity, especially after major rains.

Do you have any memories of Queensland, or dreams of places you’d like to visit?

Categories: communication, Fun Things On Land, photos, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

You Are My Ultimate Referee

What’s going on?

I’ve made the top 25 – from a field of 45000 – for the Queensland Park Ranger role in Tourism Australia’s Bests Job in the World. The opportunity could change my life. But to make the cut for the final 3, I need to secure the support of ‘ultimate referees’ for the position.

A Park Ranger’s job is to watch over and protect the environment – which means I’ll be doing a job that’s important to everyone. That’s why I think the ultimate referee isn’t just one person. It’s the multitude of people around the world who appreciate the most inspiring areas of the planet we live on.

An image of a dragonfly on gravel

That means you!

Why should you be my referee?

My whole life so far has been preparing me for this job; academically, professionally and in thousands of hours spent experiencing Australia’s unique wilderness.

This job isn’t just about promoting the Great Barrier Reef – though that’s important. It’s also about the sweeping outback, which is too often out of sight and mind of environmentalists. It’s about animals like the Armoured Mist Frog, thought extinct but recently rediscovered in the remote Far North, and intricate ecosystems of all kinds. It’s about a landscape with tens of thousands of years of enchanting heritage. And it’s about helping people to feel a sense of wonder and connection with nature. I will strive to share stories of Queensland that you haven’t heard before.

So what am I asking you to do?

Early Referees

Some of my first referees – signs in any language welcome!

I need people who believe I can be a great Park Ranger to endorse me, and the video below explains how you can help me by doing this. I need voices of all ages, walks of life, and continents – because everyone has a stake in the natural world. To become one of my ultimate referees, just do these four things:

1. Get your pen and paper out and make a sign, or print one.

2. Take a happy snap with the sign – it could just be you, or with a local landmark, pet, park or doing something you love.

3. Send the picture(s) to me at dave4ranger AT gmail DOT com by the end of Sunday 5th May.

4. Use the sharing options below to spread the word about this post far and wide! In many ways this is the most important part – I’m putting my chances for getting this job in your hands.

Everyone who endorses me will be a part of my ‘ultimate referee’ package that will give me a shot at reaching the final. Think of it like a kickstarter, except it’s free for you to become a backer, and if it succeeds I’ll give you 6 months of great photos, videos and stories :-)

To see my initial application video and find out why I’m perfect for this job, click here.

Categories: communication, environmentalism, Science, Travel, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Will I get the Best Job in the World?

It started out as an ordinary evening. I’d been for a long rock climbing session after work at The Arch, then hopped off the bus a stop early to take in the warm night breeze with a walk along the Thames. Then my phone rang. It was an Australian number. My Mum.

She was a little bit excited. Something unexpected had happened.

Earlier this month, I’d applied to be a Park Ranger in Queensland, as part of Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World competition. With more than 600,000 expressions of interest for the jobs, I put it into the back of my mind (sitting on a shelf next to my memories of Australian wilderness adventures). Here’s my alliterative attempt:

Result? Success! I made it onto the shortlist for the job. You can see the other 24 brilliant shortlisted candidates here. But that’s only the beginning; now I need to complete a tricky but exciting task to win a place in the final 3 – I need to find an ‘ultimate referee’.

It’s a perfect job for me. I lived in Queensland for 7 years and studied Environmental Science and Wildlife Management there. The state has some of the most inspirational natural locations in the world – obvious ones, like the Great Barrier Reef, but some less so, like the wonderful Chillagoe National Park. I spent a healthy wodge of 2010 exploring off Queensland’s beaten track. These places are assets for Australia and the world, so promoting and protecting them is a worthy cause.

Six months as an adventurous ambassador for the state’s most stunning areas would be a dream. For the next two weeks, I’m going to be pulling out the stops to make it a reality!

What am I waiting for?

I have a few ideas up my sleeve…

Categories: communication, Fun Things On Land | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

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