Into The Industry: Clear Tides NFP
This week we sat down with the incredible Jess Brading, who at age 22 has already set up her own Not-for-Profit, whilst balancing her studies and four part time jobs! Keep reading to find out how she is educating the general public about the issues facing our oceans.
Hey Jess! Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Jessica Amy Brading and I am a 22 year old marine biology student living in Sydney! I have an overwhelming passion for nature, being outdoors, animals and yoga.
3 Fun facts about me:
I have 3 tattoos: an ohm symbol (to keep me zen), a dog paw print (in memory of my first dog Zoe) and a wave (for my love of the ocean)
I live with my parents and sister, 2 dogs, 5 chickens and a turtle – our property is an hour from the beach but I drive out every day I can!
I have 7 piercings and wear 7 rings at all times.. I think I like the number 7?
What makes you passionate about the ocean and environment?
I have had a passion for the ocean from a young age – growing up I loved spending time at the beach, snorkelling and learning to surf with my dad! All through school I used to say “When I grow up I want to be a marine biologist.” and then in year 12 my school guidance counsellor told me that was an unrealistic job and I needed to be more serious. I’ve now almost completed my bachelor of marine science and have never been more passionate about anything in my life!
I think my passion stems from the mystery and beauty of the ocean – there is so much we do not know, and so much room for research and understanding! Over 50% of the air we breathe originates from the ocean, and it covers 80% of our Earth’s surface, so I believe it’s our duty to understand and protect the environment that literally gives us life.
And the ocean makes everyone happy … whether you’re swimming, walking, whale watching, diving, surfing – immersing yourself in nature is SO good for your well-being.
Which ocean species is on your bucket list to see?
I’ve been so busy with university over the past 4 years my bucket list is growing extremely long – but diving with hammerhead sharks and whale sharks have always been at the top of my list so hopefully I can tick that off soon!
Recently I ticked diving with seals off the list and it was the most incredible experience ever… we loved it so much we are incorporating it into our next mission trip!
What is your current job role?
Which one?! As a poor marine biology student I juggle 4 jobs, a university degree and running my own NFP – Clear Tides Organisation.
My main job is working as a tour guide for a company called Ecotreasures that runs along the Northern beaches of Sydney. I run snorkeling adventure tours where I take tourists and locals on a snorkelling experience through the beautiful Cabbage Tree Bay where we see turtles, cuttlefish, groupers, sharks and dolphins! I also take clients on hikes, whale watching, paddle boarding, and kayaking! Spending my days immersed in nature, being active and having fun is THE BEST JOB EVER!
In my spare time I also do packaging at a warehouse for a company that sells vegan, ethical and environmentally friendly eco products - and they give me killer discounts ;)
How do you balance your university work, Clear Tides, and your other part time jobs?
It’s definitely a struggle. I used to prioritise Clear Tides work simply because I loved it so much, but I soon realised I need to work my paid jobs to get some money to fund it! My days are jam packed from 6am to 11pm everyday, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love and have found what I’m passionate about. I just always have to remind myself to breathe, and prioritise one thing at a time. I write myself daily “goals” so I make sure I spend time each day on university, on Clear Tides and on myself as well.
Tell me about Clear Tides, and why its work is important for our oceans.
Clear Tides Organisation – a not-for-profit - was founded in August 2017, with the overall goal of protecting and conserving our oceans. I run the organisation doing everything from social media management to organising our events and mission trips, and I love every second of it.
As an organisation we aim to educate the general public on the problems faced by our oceans, as well as how they can reduce their impact and be a voice for this fragile environment.
This year our focus is on plastic pollution so we are hosting educational documentary screenings, beach cleans, mission trips and school talks to educate people on the problem and how they can reduce their plastic usage to save millions of animals from dying each year.
We also educate people on marine sanctuaries, by-catch, exploitation and abuse that occurs within our oceans and are going to dive further into these topics in future years!
In the future we also would love to get involved in research to further understand animal behaviour so we can enforce laws and protection strategies to ensure species survive for many generations to come.
Could you explain your 4 mission statements?
Be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, and protect all marine animals from any negative effects associated with human activity.
Conserve our ocean so it will be a fully functioning, successful ecosystem for many generations to come.
Spread a message to people all over the globe so they are aware of the magnitude of the problems faced by our oceans.
Educating people on how they have the power to make a change and how to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
What drove you to set up Clear Tides and how did you work to achieve this?
It’s going to sound crazy - but one day I just woke up with this “dream” of founding an organisation and I made the website that same day! I had always been a bit lost in where I wanted my degree to take me and when I found a passion for conservation I jumped on it and wanted to share with everyone I knew.
It was really hard to start, I had to dedicate endless hours to setting everything up, figuring out legal things, paying website fees etc, all out of my own pocket. Thank god for my incredible friends and family who proof read the website 1000 times, helped with promotion and help me at every single event - I couldn’t do any of it without them! What’s also really helped me is social media - I can talk to people from all over the world about my goals and theirs, I can reach people in different countries and collaborate with other companies at the click of a button, and that’s really been a driving force in getting sponsorships and donations which is so amazing!
At such a young age, having your own NFP is a great achievement, have you come across any hurdles along the way?
Most definitely! Running an organisation is a lot of work, especially when you don’t get paid for it. I found it really hard at the start to balance Clear Tides and my other jobs as I was always wanting to do work for CT rather than my other jobs.
The next biggest problem we’re facing is funding, I never realised how much it can cost just to have a business name, a website and an email!! Plus we have so many big campaigns and projects we want to work for and we just don’t have the funding yet which can get frustrating, but patience is key.
I get so much joy out of running Clear Tides, building the campaigns and seeing people WANT to help our oceans so all the struggles are worth it and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.
Whose work has influenced and inspired you?
A range of peoples work has inspired me to pursue my passion for our oceans and advocate for environmental conservation. Obviously David Attenborough was a constant driving force as his films always reminded me of the beauty our oceans hold, which is what we are fighting to save. The work of film makers and ocean conservationists such as Andy Casagrande, Rob Stewart and Maddison Stewart who show the beauty of the ocean’s apex predators and the problems these fragile populations face.
But most of all, seeing followers of Clear Tides (and my friends and family) make changes to their everyday lives to reduce their plastic usage, or sign a petition against shark nets, or make the change to sustainable seafood, is what drives and inspires me the most. Knowing that education and awareness through Clear Tides has driven them to make a change for our ocean motivates me more than anything to keep spreading this message and keep inspiring others to do the same.
The ocean has changed rapidly in the last couple of decades. Could you leave us with any words of wisdom about ocean conservation?
As an individual you have so much power to influence change, don’t underestimate it.
What advice would you give to people who want to go into this career?
Go for it! It may not be the most high paying career but I promise you it is the most rewarding.