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A naturalist is someone who studies or has expertise in the field of natural history. Common fields of naturalist study include zoology and the scientific analysis of plant life. Naturalist careers include park rangers working in national or state parks as well as wildlife specialists who work in zoos. While the availability of jobs for a naturalist may be scarce, many are drawn to working in this field.
The park naturalist has the responsibility of giving park goers relevant information about local, state, or national parks. Park naturalists act as a guide through the park, leading park attendees on nature walks and educational programs. Park naturalists try to boost attendance in the park by creating lectures and promotional videos. In addition, they study the vegetation and wildlife that flourish within the park. The park naturalist position requires a bachelor's degree in areas such as forestry or environmental science. Course study in education also helps the park naturalist to effectively inform the public on the issues concerning the park. The park naturalist must balance the work of conservation while still trying to encourage the public to visit.
Working in the field of wildlife rehabilitation gives the naturalist an opportunity to help sick and injured animals in need of care. These specialists work to cure animals of their ailments and reintroduce them into the wild. A qualified wildlife rehabilitation worker must have extensive knowledge in the care of animals including their diet, behavior, and appropriate medicines used for treatment. Required study includes rehabilitation methods such as physiology and husbandry, which helps to ensure top quality care. Working at an unpaid internship at a zoo or local animal shelter can help a student break into the field of wildlife rehabilitation.
Working as a zoo specialist requires the naturalist to have an in depth knowledge of various species of animals. A bachelor's degree in a related field such as animal science or biology is a great stepping stone for someone trying to pursue a career as a zoo specialist. Course study in the field includes conservation techniques, nutrition, and training of wild and domesticated species. The zoo specialist must also learn to care for the specific needs of various species of exotic animals. Studying husbandry allows the zoo specialist to help wild animals thrive in a confined setting.