Meet Nicholas Son, our WWF Volunteer of 2018: “I Really Like the Panda Mascot!”

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If you’ve ever been to one of our WWF events, you might have bumped into one of our super volunteers, Nicholas! 

Bright, smart, charismatic. There is that feel-good vibe and high bursts of energy you couldn’t possibly miss. 

Korean-born and U.S-based Nicholas Son, 27, is currently in Singapore thanks to his wife’s one-year work rotation. Now, he is a house husband (he calls it hotel husband just because).

Before the year ends (he is heading back to be home with his family), we looked back at the year and are incredibly grateful for our super volunteers like Nicholas who continue to support our work.  

Here, we chat with the personable man on his favourite things-to-do, all things planet-friendly and more. 

We heard that you’re leaving! What brought you here to sunny Singapore a year ago?

“We are both originally from New Jersey in USA. My parents are from South Korea.”

“My wife got a one-year work rotation here and I am along for the ride.”

What do you like about volunteering?

“I like knowing that I am helping out causes that improve the lives of others. Whether is directly helping an individual or trying something monumental like saving the planet.”

What makes you join WWF-Singapore as a volunteer? (We also heard that you volunteer for other organisations as well)

“I’ve been WWF since March 2018 and I dressed up as the panda for Earth Hour.”

“I really liked the panda mascot so when I was looking for additional volunteer opportunities, I just googled it!”

Share the most memorable WWF event you’ve helped out in

“I hope the kids learned and can grow up to help protect the world.”

“One of the (six events) was with the education team. We had different schools coming in over a couple days to learn about sustainability and the kids were just really cute and interested in learning. I got called a funny uncle which was nice.”

Most memorable encounter with anyone in WWF or students that left the deepest impact 

“Getting invited to play board games at the office with some of the team members. It was nice to hang out without having everyone busy teaching an army of rambunctious school kids!”

Tell us a super cool thing you did in the past (or recently) that you think could bring great impact to our planet

“When I was working, I got some co-workers to bring in their own utensils instead of using the free plastic ones in the cafeteria. It’s not that huge of a difference but if everyone can get the people around them to make small changes together, it can add up to real changes for the planet.”

What you do like most about WWF that is aligned to your personal beliefs about sustainability and or protecting our planet and nature?

“WWF really emphasises the education part of sustainability. They really try to teach everyone from small kids to adults about how their different actions have different consequences and how even little changes can make an impact. Also that you have resources set up to help driver bigger organisational changes like the #uselessplastic awareness campaign to get a legislative ban of plastic bags, or the e-ranger website to help individuals help track down illegal wildlife trade shops.”

Share three awesome things we don’t know about you

“My mom owns a grocery store that is named ‘Nick’s produce’. I have two fake teeth from a wrestling injury in high school. I am quite afraid of heights but still enjoy rock climbing, snowboarding, and rollercoasters. I’ve also been sky diving!”

What are you looking forward to seeing in the next few years?

“I’d like to become a dive master in the future and help share the joy of diving to others eventually. I’ve also decided to start doing triathlons so we will see how that goes. I get very out of breath while swimming. And last but definitely not least, I would like to see everyone realising the impact of climate change and other environmental issues and really come together to drive the change that we need to do before it is too late.”

Tips for anyone who are looking to volunteer with WWF  and how do you make the most out of the experience?

“Mostly just a positive outlook on life. Although you are there to help the staff, if you go with the idea to have fun, everyone has a better time too. It also helps if you’ve researched more information on the volunteer event (you are helping on). So if it’s a clean-the-oceans sort of volunteer day, look up some articles on the oceans or watch BBC’s Blue Planet.”

One thing you can do (with all the money and power to do anything) for wildlife or nature

“I would want to do everything! The myriad issues and solutions for something as complex as wildlife and nature (read: are we doing enough for wildlife?) require more than one action plan to be done.”

Favourite wild animal and how it represents you (and your character) accurately

“Either a mischievous monkey or a really happy dog or some combination of both.”

“Both are either too happy or too curious and just like to have fun and chase things in the streets.”

What do you like (and not like) about yourself

“I like that I am outgoing and can make connections with strangers and turn them into new friends. I don’t like that I am very lazy and procrastinating at times. My wife calls me a slug when I am like that.”

What is the most rewarding (and biggest challenge) of volunteering with WWF?

“Knowing I helped educate people who will hopefully pass that knowledge to their friends/family/coworkers which lead to lifestyle changes. And I haven’t found any challenging parts to volunteering. It’s been pretty much all-positive for me so far.”

If you wish to volunteer with us, email us at volunteer@wwf.sg or sign up here.

Read more about the stranded sperm whale with 6kg of plastics in its stomach,  our top 10 threatened species in Singapore, and find out why plastics is not the villainI

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