Meet Rebekah Dowsett

Bek is a citizen scientist working on Saving our Species (SoS). As part of her role, Bek helps to look for ways the public can participate and collaborate in scientific research and projects for SoS.

Woman standing in the trunk of a tree that has split at the base

In April, we celebrated Citizen Science Day, so we thought it was the perfect time to shine a spotlight on the work people like citizen scientist, Bek, do to harness community skills and passion. This in turn fuels our ability to answer questions about the world and how it works. 

Why did you decide to work in conservation/science?

I was a very curious kid, I loved being outdoors and took every opportunity to head to the beach or visit the forest. When I came to Australia (I am originally from England), I was so fascinated by our unique environment that I wanted to learn more about how it works and what I could do to conserve it.

What are some of the best things you get to do as part of your job?

One of my most favourite things about my job is that I get to share my passion for the natural world with communities by involving them in scientific research that benefits their local environment.

Involving communities in citizen science through scientific data collection provides a direct connection between participation and tangible environmental outcomes. Through this connection, communities build knowledge and skills about their environment and obtain a sense of ownership which can provide environmental benefits long after the initial project finishes. 

I love being able to work with a diverse array of people from many different organisations. By working together and sharing knowledge we can maximise benefits for our threatened species and environments.

What are some of your proudest work achievements?

My proudest achievement would be the rehabilitation of a site that was filled with weeds and used to dump rubbish back to a native bushland. This was achieved by working with multiple stakeholders and involving the community at all stages of the project, which created passion for and stewardship of the site. I revisited the site a few years after the project had finished and it had been maintained – which I was so happy to see!

What advice you would give to others thinking about a career in conservation or science?

Figure out what you are passionate about and pursue volunteering activities around this to get valuable experience.

Don’t be afraid to ask people how they got their current role and ring up job advertisers for advice on how to get the skills you need to land your dream job.