The conservation world can be a rewarding space to grow yourself, career, and skills, but sometimes it can be exhausting and like any job, it can be easy to fall into daily routines and norms. By adding sparks of creativity in your conservation efforts, you can add excitement to your day to day as well as elevate your overall professional development. 

Here are 6 ways you can sprinkle creativity to your conservation work (Hint: they’re for everyone! You don’t have to be a practiced artist or professional to be creative.)

1. Photography & Video: With the rise of digital media, it is easier than ever before to tell your story and show off your experiences. Photos and videos can capture the impact of your work as well as the memories you make in the field. Next time you are on a project grab your phone or camera and photograph before and after shots of your work, take a selfie with your teammates, or even film a vlog showing highlights of your work day. Photos and videos are a great way to document your conservation journey while also educating and engaging others! 

2. Shadow Other People: It is easy to get caught up in your own work, routine, and thought processes. A great way to break that cycle and spark new ways of thinking is to learn from others! Whether you’re working on a large crew or a small office, observe and connect with the fellow conservationists and professionals around you. By shadowing peers, mentors, and even colleagues in different departments you can broaden your skill sets and creative thinking.

3. Drawing: Don’t be afraid to embrace your inner artist! Whether you’ve drawn before or not, taking the time to observe the scenes around you can be a great way to chronicle your adventures and form a deeper connection with natural and cultural landscapes you’re serving. It doesn’t have to be fancy – keep a notebook with you and sketch some simple doodles of the wildlife and people you see or feel inspired by.



4. Take a New Training: Whether you are just starting out your conservation career or are a well seasoned pro, continuous learning is essential for personal and professional growth. If your team or site offers training for you to learn new tools, skills, and certifications, take advantage and learn! Online webinars and seminars are also a great way to educate yourself on new topics. Many ACE positions provide members with position specific training and AmeriCorps Education awards that can be used to further professional development.

5. Journaling: Writing can be a great way to record your experiences in a detailed way that images can’t. Take notes about your conservation work – your goals, accomplishments, and observations. Taking the time to journal is a great space to creatively express your thoughts and feelings while also tracking your career milestones over time. Having writing examples on hand is a great way to build your portfolio for future opportunities. Many ACE members like to submit testimonials about their service terms or write blogs for the ACE website!

6. Expand Your Mind with ACE Learns and the ACE Learning Portal: Every ACE member, Crew or EPIC, receives access to the ACE Learning Portal which provides a vast variety of learning resources related to the outdoor industry and beyond. In addition to the online portal, ACE regularly hosts ACE Learns virtual webinars highlighting the work and insights of ACE members, staff, partners, and other professionals. Utilizing these ACE learning resources is a great way to expand your knowledge and innovation.

While many people working in the conservation sector are experts in their field, conservation as a whole is a place for intersectionality. Natural and cultural resources, people, history, and stories all share the same public lands and landscapes. 

That same intersectionality should be considered in day to day work – blending hard and soft skills, science and creativity. Regardless of your expertise and background, incorporating creative habits in your conservation efforts is an effective and mindful way to elevate yourself, your work, and inspire others. 


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