Progressing a nature-centred career with the Ecosulis rewilding internship

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At Ecosulis, we strive to create a variety of opportunities for people from all walks of life. We don’t want our mission to be something exclusive. Our rewilding internship scheme helps us to align with this ethos, enabling people to pursue their passion for nature.  

We sat down with Dan Bass, one of our current interns, and spoke to him about his journey with Ecosulis since starting the graduate internship.  

How did your journey with Ecosulis begin? 

“I first discovered rewilding by reading Feral by George Monbiot, which kick-started an interest in the topic and led me to learn more. I started to understand the human component of the subject and structured my university degree around the social science of rewilding. This took me to Dartmoor National Park to explore public perceptions of rewilding for my dissertation, then as a research intern baselining how people view and value a ‘pre-wilded’ landscape on a Cornish estate.  

I found out about Ecosulis’ internship programme via Heal Rewilding’s social media. Roles for rewilding are few and far between, so I jumped at the chance!”

What does an average day look like as a rewilding intern? 

“The fantastic thing about working at Ecosulis is that, as a rewilding intern, there is no average day.  

Each day will introduce new challenges, new people to meet with, ideas to explore, different landholdings to engage with and projects to progress. On a day-to-day basis it can vary a lot, but I’m often developing quotes and reports for landowners looking to transition to rewilding approaches and nature-based revenue models, with a broad mix of tasks cropping up and new problems to solve.  

I have my own clear role to build and manage our rewilding advisory service and progress new leads and contacts, but collectively we work towards a shared vision to make rewilding investable.  

The role is very people-based, so I spend time also getting in touch with both existing clients and new prospects, discussing rewilding, explaining our work and identifying ways the services can add different forms of value.” 

How have you developed during your time at Ecosulis, what have you learnt? 

“My understanding of rewilding principles and practice has grown significantly, along with learning the importance of taking a pragmatic approach, acting in context and within the constraints of what is possible. I’ve gained a better insight into the different voices and influences at play within landscapes, with confidence to discuss big issues with landowners and stakeholders. 

I have a much clearer vision of what I want for my career now, having been introduced to so many new people, ideas and concepts. It’s firmed up what I want out of my working life and the things I aspire to and really want to champion.  

I’ve learnt the importance of finance and technology in scaling rewilding. The how’s and why’s of making rewilding a revenue-generating proposition is becoming clearer each day and I’m learning ways to progress that goal. Helping landowners to diversify their practices and businesses, and building out greater ecosystem integrity in the process, is beyond rewarding.”

What do you like the most about Ecosulis – and your role with the organisation? 

“The fact that, as interns, we are fully incorporated into important workstreams as actors in their development and delivery. Our opinions and ideas are wanted, and we are given platforms and opportunities to share them.  

The trust and responsibility to carry out high-quality work is stimulating and fulfilling. You feel that what you and your team is advancing can make a tangible difference to nature and people. 

I’ve been working from home since I started, but we meet regularly to innovate together, find solutions and take stock of progress. Everyone supports each other in the team. 

It’s really valuable having so many different skillsets and expertise distributed across the company. There are so many different resources and people to turn to for support.”

Looking to the future… what’s next?  

“The rest of my internship will be focused on bringing a rewilding token to market and expanding our portfolio of projects and clients. We’re going full steam ahead on those areas and I’m keen to help start bringing in financially and strategically substantive work for the innovation team, and of course creating big wins for nature. 

For the future, I hope to secure a career in rewilding, finding common cause with others from different backgrounds and places to share knowledge and collaborate across different industries, companies, and organisations.”  

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