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Earthwatch at 50: Denise Parker's story

When Denise Parker was offered redundancy from her job in financial services in 1997, she knew that it was time for a change.

She signed up to an Earthwatch expedition that saw her studying orca whales off the coast of Seattle, and set out on a new path.

 “I thought we might be out on big boats and see some whales from a distance, but I went out in a tiny boat with just two other researchers. We had a microphone in the water recording the sound of the whales, so we weren’t allowed to make any noise. But at one point one came right out of the water behind us. I was trying to get the attention of the other two without making any noise, and it blew all this spray out of its blowhole. We just got showered in this fishy smelling spray. It’s still so vivid in my memory.”


When she returned to the UK, Denise forged a new career that incorporates leadership tools, coaching and training. And nature has found its way into her work. Not only does she volunteer as a ranger in London’s Richmond Park, she often takes her clients out into nature where she guides them through exercises and practices.


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