“I’ve always had an interest in environmental conservation—especially
since the age of 12. I was brought up in Malaysia, and while I was visiting a
national park there I became aware firsthand of the serious environmental
management problems going on in that country. I realized then that I really
wanted to do something to help conserve and improve the environment.
I got my master’s degree in wildlife management and my PhD in bird ecology. When I completed my PhD thesis, I wanted to get into environmental
conservation and was offered a project management coordinating position
in Caracas, Venezuela. While I was working there, I felt I needed to improve
my project management skills, so I signed up for a Project Management Professional (PMP)® course at a business school in Caracas. That’s how I ended
up in project management.
Currently I have two roles: I’m biodiversity project manager at Worldwatch Institute Europe in Denmark, and I run my own nongovernmental
organization in Spain called Eco de la Tierra.
Eco de la Tierra is dedicated to the conservation of Mediterranean biodiversity and ecosystems. One of our projects has to do with environmental
education for children. We have another project that has to do with improving the socioeconomic situation of women in northeast Morocco, where in
rural areas only 10 percent of women can read and write.
At Worldwatch Institute Europe, we’re working on urban biodiversity.
One project is called URBIA—urban biodiversity in action. We’re working to
make Europeans more aware of the urban biodiversity that surrounds them.
Even a park may be home to an endangered species of bird, for example.
A project in environmental conservation should be managed the same as a
project in any other business sector: You have a plan, you have stakeholders,
and you have objectives. It’s the same. But a very common problem in environmental nongovernmental organizations is a lack of funding, so as a project manager you often find yourself spending some of your time fundraising.
When an environmental project is successful, you can say you’ve done
something to improve the planet—whether it involves increasing environmental awareness among a group of citizens or helping an endangered animal or plant. Doing something positive for the planet is why I’m a project
practitioner in my industry.”
Elena Bulmer, PMP, PhD, biodiversity project
coordinator, Worldwatch Institute Europe, Madrid, Spain
“A very common
a lack of funding,
so as a project
often find yourself
of your time
—Elena Bulmer, PMP