“Turning the great outdoors into a virtual classroom “

Vicky O’Donnell is the founder of Wilder Wander, winner of Tech-Stars startup weekend. Here she discusses how she turned her idea into a growing business.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I grew up on a farm in the Wicklow Mountains, loved the great outdoors and from an early age I always wanted to work with animals, so when I left school I studied zoology and animal behaviour in TCD. I am sure I asked David Attenborough for a job at one stage and I managed to get some work with the wildlife filmmaker Éamon de Buitléar, finding pine martens for him to film in the West of Ireland.
But jobs in nature are scarce on the ground so I went back to college to study geo-informatics and spent the next 13 years working in maritime research in UCC. I worked with data at all stages and, although the job was technical, the work was very applied so it was easy to see the value of data in decision making and the importance of data as currency.
While working at UCC in 2000, I saw an article in the Irish Times advertising jobs with Irish Aid’s Rapid Response Corps which sends experts to work in the initial stages of an emergency. All of the data/information skills that I was using in maritime research were directly relevant to working on the ground during an emergency so I decided to pack my bags and I worked with UNOCHA, UNICEF and UNHCR in the Middle East, Africa and Asia until 2015. Since then I have worked with the UN developing emergency toolkits and training courses for those deploying to humanitarian disasters.
How did you come up with the idea for Wilder Wander?
In the summer of 2017 we started a family tourism business and were

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/turning-the-great-outdoors-into-a-virtual-classroom/ on thinkbusiness

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