Rebecca, from Australia, is a member of IUCN's Young Professionals Group.
How did you get involved in protected areas?
My passion for the marine environment led me to undergraduate and post-graduate studies focusing on the human connection to our oceans, specifically marine protected areas. Concurrently, I was inspired to join, engage and lead in Young Professional activities supported by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.
Why are you passionate about protected areas?
Our protected areas, or parks, allow us (humans) to connect to nature in a natural and wild setting. These areas provide natural spaces for us to pause, reflect, admire and bond with the beauty of nature. As our global population increases, it places greater demands on our finite natural resources. Our protected areas are places of inspiration and relaxation, protecting the last remaining natural environments where you can watch the most minute creature move about its business to large shifts across a land or seascape.
Why is your stream important?
‘Inspiring a new generation’ brings a young voice to the Congress where we will inspire and be inspired by all delegates. Our stream brings the emotive, passionate, dynamic, inspiring and forward-looking ideas of young people.
Why did you want to be a stream leader for the Congress?
My Young Professional commission colleagues always inspire me. Being a stream leader is an incredible opportunity to work with them and other young people in delivering powerful and meaningful messages to create behaviour change for nature.
What do you hope the IUCN World Parks Congress achieves?
An empowering outcome from the Congress would be the development of a new and inspiring approach to creating behaviour change for connecting people to nature and parks, specifically a cultural shift for individuals and communities who are not currently connected.
What’s been your most memorable experience within a protected area?
Floating above a temperate seagrass meadow and being mesmerised by the graceful movements of the Weedy Seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) in Victoria, in one of Australia’s Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries.