I think the ideal nature reserve manager has some kind of academic and professional background in an area of biology and/or ecology and experience or the ability to budget, because there is also a business/financial aspect to the work. Public speaking abilities are also a plus since the manager may be responsible for giving talks or tours to visitors. If you’re fairly young still I’d recommend getting an education then in the biological sciences, do a lot of hands-on research in wildlife or wildlife habitats, or search for any volunteer work or internships related to restoring habitats. (This is also an excellent way to network. Having connections in the field boosts your probability of getting a job in the field.) If you’re from the U.S., Americorps has various programs, more often during the summer, that include environmental recuperation. I believe they had a team working to relieve the oil spill pollution around the Gulf Coast a few years ago. That would be a life-changing experience and probably make for an interesting resume segment.
Going through an environmental management educational program would be helpful.
I agree that volunteer work or interning would be a good way to get experience. It’s also a way for you to get a taste of what it’s like to work in the field and to see if it’s a good match.
For habitat restoration volunteer opportunities in your area, try volunteermatch.org. I recently attended a habitat restoration volunteer event that I found on that site, and I had a great time. I’m planning to go again.
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