EVERYDAY ECOTOURISM HEROES EDITION 3: JESS LEASK
“Jess' enthusiasm is infectious. She makes you want to do more. Just being around her, I've realised that while I do try and do my part, there is so much more that I could be doing to contribute.”
This is how Deb Court of Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours describes her colleague Jess, interaction guide and underwater photographer for the Exmouth-based, Nature Tourism Certified whale shark tour company.
A marine biologist by background, Jess lives for the marine environment: When she’s not educating guests onboard the business’ vessel during the whale shark and humpback whale season, she’s volunteering her time protecting the ocean by working with research and education NGO ECOCEAN to ID whale shark images or organising beach clean-ups along the West Australian coast.
“Jess leads by example, Deb notes.
“She’s energetic, passionate and committed. After talking to passengers about the ocean, its inhabitants and perhaps teaching them things that they hadn’t previously known, people leave our tour with a renewed enthusiasm to protect what they love.
“So many people comment about how much they have learnt from spending the day with Jess.”
Always keeping an eye for new ways to deliver on Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours’ promise of operating a sustainable tourist product, Jess was the instigator of providing photos to guests online rather than on USBs in order to reduce waste and initiated the use of produce bags instead of single-use plastic bags when shopping for supplies.
“Jess is always looking at ways to minimise our impact and improve our operation,” says Deb.
But it’s Jess’ passion and energy that really motivates her colleagues:
“She reminds us all why we chose this industry to work in and how lucky we are to be a part of it, Deb notes.
“Getting to live and work on the ocean for those that love it is really something to be appreciated.”
Thank you, Jess, for all that you do for our industry and thank you, Deb, for your nomination!
Is there someone in your business who you think is an Everyday Ecotourism Hero? Tell us about them!
[Photos: Kings Ningaloo Reef]