Scott Xavi Gudrich is the founder and Director of the Plover Rovers, a project which aims to bring together the professional marine science community and local communities along the English coast through the delivery of exciting, scientific talks all along the coastal path. After being furloughed from his position as an Assistant Marine Biologist in a benthic laboratory, Scott used his time to expand on the idea for the Plover Rovers project and, just half a year later, the project is now a registered charity with almost 70 volunteers. For Scott, the most rewarding part of his job is working with the volunteers and finding roles for them where they can shine, allowing the team to develop a life and energy of its own. He interviewed all of the volunteers personally and found it an extremely gratifying experience to meet so many people willing to devote their time to the cause.
Scott set up and now oversees the entire internal structure of the organisation which, whilst sometimes challenging, he has found great fun. Liaising with external partners is another important part of his role and he has found it very encouraging to experience the positive feedback the project has received and the willingness of other organisations to cooperate. The charity has recently assessed its internal diversity and now plans to take action to help increase diversity in the marine science and conservation sectors through exploring ways to include the arts in science communication, as well as establishing a buddy programme to increase access to the field. The charity also actively works to provide a safe and welcoming environment for people of all cultural backgrounds and genders, and is currently exploring opportunities to work with social charities to open up science communication to segments of society that are often excluded from activities centred around engaging with the natural world. Overall, he enjoys the creativity of the work and the energetic and out-of-the-box approach the charity takes, and is motivated by the possibility of bringing people together to improve ocean literacy and science communication.
Scott began his career as a professional rock musician, which laid the foundation for his creative work, out-of-the-box thinking and ease in moving in non-academic surroundings. He then went on to study Classics and obtained an MA, following which he worked as a teacher, something which enhanced his people skills and passion for education and sharing knowledge. After several years, he returned to university to follow his childhood dream of working in the natural sciences and studied for a BSc in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at a university specializing in inter- and transdisciplinary work. This provided a strong theoretical background in stakeholder engagement, as well as environmental policy and general ecology. He then went on to complete an MSc in Marine Environmental Protection, after which he began working as a Marine Biologist in a commercial laboratory, gaining insight into the consultancy sector and enhancing his taxonomic skills. Scott notes that “the work with the Plover Rovers combines my passion for conservation and education, my love for working with a team of dedicated people and for creatively setting up my own project, including the arts and working across the social spectrum.”
In the future, Scott hopes to continue to make a positive impact, to inspire people and to help achieve the transformative change needed to save the planet. “I love the work at the interface of natural and social sciences and I am planning to do a PhD in this area because I want to have the possibility to participate in research on how we can find the key leverage points for transformative change and how we can harness the inherent energy of the interactions between humans and their surroundings to be constructive rather than destructive. This is what drives me.”
Scott became an Associate member of the IES in 2020, and feels that being part of an active network of environmental scientists across different fields provides the opportunity to connect across a wide range of relevant disciplines which makes for inspiring thinking, as well as fostering interdisciplinary work and helping members to broaden their scientific horizon. “I connect to the evidence-based approach advocated by the IES and believe it does an important job as a “catalyst for improvement”. It’s an organization I as a scientist and science activist can wholeheartedly support. The seminars, etc. offered by the IES are a valuable addition to my ongoing professional improvement.”