A Bushwise trainer’s note to graduating students
Some images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.
BY: Francois Theron
This blog was written by Francois, one of our trainers. Here, Francois shares his advice to the students as they near the end of their Bushwise course.
As the end of the course approaches, with assessments and theory examinations now behind, the students can start to breathe a little easier. I think that many, if not all, of the students will agree with me when I say that there’s tremendously hard work involved in becoming a field guide!
Besides the theory component, students also have to learn practical skills like identifying birds by their calls and animals by their tracks. The list of a field guide’s duties goes on, but after spending more than a decade in the industry, what really makes the work so rewarding for me is how many things there are to still learn about here in the bush.
Looking back to nearly sixteen years ago when I was in the same shoes as our current students, completing examinations, assessments, walking hours, tracking and going on so many other adventures I was fortunate enough to experience, I can’t help to feel envious.
When I first became a field guide, the uncertainty and lack of confidence I felt was overwhelming. But, with the right mentorship and training, that soon became something of the past, and I hope the Bushwise students feel the same support from us.
From the very start of the course, the students and staff clicked and developed a great relationship. Evenings spent braaing (barbecuing) around enormous fires, unforgettable sightings and plenty of laughter around camp truly made this course stand out and I want to thank each student for an unforgettable experience.
It took a lot of effort throughout the course to get to where they are now. From all the lectures, botany walks, game drives and classroom sessions, the students have finally entered the final stage of becoming apprentice field guides. And, this is only the beginning of a long and prosperous career with more opportunities to learn and further themselves in the industry.
Whether it’s becoming qualified trails guides, bird specialists or even FGASA scouts one day, the possibilities from here are endless for those willing to continue to put in the hard work to become epic guides and enjoy life in the bush.
No matter where you end up in the industry, it’s important to always bear in mind that as a field guide, you will end up meeting people from all over the world and it’ll be in your hands to educate them about wildlife. Field guides are wildlife ambassadors and it’s our duty to protect wildlife ethically and do what’s best to preserve our natural heritage for those still to come.
If guiding is your passion and you love nature, join a Bushwise course now.