Revelling in return to nature
The Hong Kong Wetland Park provides an attractive working environment for its nature-loving staff, says Josephine Cheng Chui-yu, manager of education and community services at the park.
Employees enjoy working in the midst of nature and being surrounded by rich and diverse wildlife, she adds.
Located in Tin Shui Wai and managed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Wetland Park not only promotes tourism, but also educates the public about nature.
The park's exhibition and education departments develop activities to raise awareness of conservation and diversity of wildlife in Hong Kong. These include guided tours, lectures, seminars, exhibitions and workshops.
The park organises special events on an annual basis. One of the highlights is the Bird Watching Festival, held from November to February, which consists of activities to identify and study migratory birds coming to Hong Kong in winter.
As part of the festival, the Interschool Bird Race in December attracted 50 teams, with 200 participants from 30 secondary schools. Each team designed their race routes to record the highest number of bird species in natural habitats in areas such as Tin Shui Wai and the nearby Tsim Bei Tsui.
Cheng says most of the staff who work for the park's exhibition and education departments are civil servants at the assistant supervisor level. Their starting salary is HK$14,000 a month.
She adds that basic entry requirements include a university degree in natural science, biology, geology or environmental science. A passion for nature and outdoor work, and good communication skills are also necessary.
The park provides on-the-job training to new recruits. 'Experienced staff will help coach new hires on how to identify different species of birds, butterflies and other wildlife,' Cheng says. 'Staff at the exhibition department will also learn about proper animal caring procedures.'
Depending on their performance and level of experience, assistant supervisors may be promoted to the position of supervisor before becoming a senior supervisor, she adds.