Ecologist and CEO

    James Hattam

    James Hattam
    A degree in conservation is the perfect way to kickstart a planet-saving career.

    Deakin University graduate James Hattam started his career as an ecologist, but later found his calling connecting people with conservation as CEO of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy

    As a student, James wasn’t really ‘the academic type’… until he started studying biology and outdoor education. Those interests led him to enrol in a Bachelor of Environmental Science at Deakin University, specialising in conservation ecology and plant biology.

    During his early career, James tried everything from being a ranger to helping farmers control weeds and realised that conservation is just as much about engaging with people as it is about the environment.

    “Ecology is the interaction of living things and my view is that humans are a part of that,” he explains. “I might know all there is to know about a threatened plant or animal, but if I can’t use that knowledge to inspire somebody to help protect it, then it’s just interesting information.”

    James found the perfect opportunity to put this philosophy into practice at a not-for-profit organisation called the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, which buys and manages ecologically important landscapes. Having first joined the organisation as an ecologist, he was quickly promoted to head of the organisation’s fundraising and engagement team.

    Then, a few years later, he became CEO. While he’s not a practising scientist anymore, James still uses his scientific training every day to communicate what he’s doing and how he’s doing it.

    Recently, he and his team at the Tasmanian Land Conservancy raised over $2 million to buy a property on Tasmania’s east coast that’s home to 40 rare and threatened species. The campaign was such a hit, they’re now looking to extend the area of land protected. “In a world where there’s so much destruction and loss, it is a privilege to be doing something so powerfully positive.”

    James’ study and career pathway

    This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Science 2022 – and you can catch James in our upcoming Science & Space webinar too! 

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    Amelia Caddy

    Author: Amelia Caddy

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