Founded by conservation biologist Laura Marsh, Nova Conservation is a business that’s connecting people with conservation trips and experiences that give back to the environment. Laura has a background in Biology and Environmental Science with an expertise in birds. She has spent nearly a decade conducting biological fieldwork and environmental education, traveling extensively for various conservation projects.
Laura realized that while conservation is an amazing thing, it is extremely difficult for many people to really experience and become a part of it – and do so without ultimately harming the animals and habitats we aim to protect. For those wanting to take part in ecotourism or volunteer trips, there are companies that allow you to pay a sum of money to ‘experience nature and wildlife.’ The problem is that so many of these companies end up being an unethical tourist trap scamming you of money and harming the wildlife’s welfare by exploiting animals and their habitats to lure in uninformed tourists. You don’t get what you signed up for and don’t get to participate in any real conservation efforts as they advertise.
For conservationists wanting to make this field their career, you pretty much have to work for free to even get your foot in the door and gain tangible skills, which is not feasible for many people and creates a disadvantage to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and those in lower socioeconomic brackets. Additionally, students who have studied for years and are working towards earning degrees must apply for grants to take part in conservation projects, which is competitive and time consuming. All of these factors that make it so difficult to get into conservation results in having fewer experts in the field, and fewer people who can experience and appreciate conservation. We should aim to have more people encountering wildlife and experiencing nature hands-on so we have more people who are motivated and educated on how to protect it.
This is where Nova Conservation comes in. Nova Conservation recognizes this problem, and whole-heartedly believes ethical conservation experiences should be accessible to all. This business is fulfilling the need for a hub that anybody can use to find ethical conservation experiences around the world. And yes, they mean anybody – budding environmentalists, travel enthusiasts, experienced biologists, and everyone in between. College students or recent graduates looking for an internship, a retiree birdwatcher hobbyist, or adventurers looking for a more meaningful travel experience can all find something here. From hands-on experiences to observing from afar, they have something for every skill level.
Their database makes it easy to find any kind of conservation work, research opportunities, volunteer or internship positions, and ecotourism trips both near and far. Whether you want to take part in a local beach cleanup this weekend or plan an overseas trip in the jungle next summer, Nova Conservation has it all. Need help boosting your resume? Apply for an internship opportunity or job opening. Don’t want to wait for COVID to end to get your nature fix? Sign up for a virtual wildlife class or virtual bird walk.
And the best part is, you won’t have to worry about the legitimacy of what you’re signing up for. Nova Conservation conducts a thorough vetting process for all of their partners, doing our best to ensure you get an experience that will be good for you AND the planet. And if you encounter an organization that is not holding up their end of the bargain, you can report them anonymously on their safe and secure portal.
Nova Conservation aims to give back to the wildlife and the environment that you will be interacting with, as well as the locals living there – a much better option than your typical vacation. This is part of what makes Nova Conservation so different. Other conservation websites out there aren’t very easy to navigate, don’t have a large variety of opportunities, and don’t go through this vetting process to make sure the experience is ethical for everyone involved, especially the wildlife.
So here’s how it works: Nova Conservation posts all kinds of conservation opportunities from their partners, such as nonprofits, NGOs, institutions, researchers, or ecotourism companies. You check out these posts on their website, novaconservation.com. You can browse through their website for conservation opportunities – new posts are added all the time. You can use their search functions to find out what’s best for you, like location and type of experience. When you see one that’s a good fit for you, apply for the opportunity – you’re already on your way to an amazing conservation experience. You can look forward to gaining valuable knowledge and skills while having a great time doing it.
Sounds great, right? Now, here’s where you can help: Nova Conservation needs your help spreading the word and gaining support to get this much-needed ethical hub of experiences up and running to provide as many opportunities as possible. Recently, Laura hosted a virtual Kickstarter launch party, which featured an array of conservation hot shots hanging out and discussing the latest environmental news and why we need a place like Nova Conservation (if you missed out, this insightful discussion can be found on YouTube)! Their Kickstarter is now live and is offering some pretty great incentives for backing the project, like virtual and in-person wildlife experiences, catamaran boat trips, and of course, t-shirts (made from organic cotton and recycled polyester – they’re super soft). You can back Nova Conservation’s Kickstarter here. BONUS: 100% of proceeds go to conservation.
Looking to partner with Nova Conservation or post an ethical conservation opportunity? For the entire year of 2021, Nova Conservation is offering FREE postings on their website. This is the perfect time to take advantage – the travel bug from quarantine is real, and we’re all itching to get out when the pandemic is over. Partners can easily find quality participants through their website, and can take advantage of their advertisement spaces and promotional blog collaborations. Nova Conservation already has some well-known partners featuring opportunities on their website, like Life Net Nature and Fauna Forever.
Want to learn more about sustainable travel and conservation? Or maybe just want to figure out where your next ecotourism trip should be? Visit Nova Conservation’s website where they have plenty of helpful information, like a forum where you can speak to experts and fellow conservationists alike. From a quick fact check, to a question about a hobby, users can learn and educate others on environmental conservation. Nova Conservation also has a blog that is written by environmental scientists who are experts in all aspects of conservation and environmental news. You can follow them on Instagram and Twitter, like them on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out and back their Kickstarter here.
Ethical ecotourism, volunteer give-back trips, and research tourism are a great way to generate income for the conservation industry – by crafting unique, ethical adventures that help our planet – all while making it easily accessible to all people to experience. Both you and the planet benefit – it’s a win-win situation. The current system needs an overhaul, and Nova Conservation is the team to do it.