Hi there. I’m Sara Blackburn – a dedicated and passionate conservationist and artist. Instead of deciding between two careers, I embrace them both as individual professions and also work hard to combine them in unique and inspirational ways. I incorporate creativity into my conservation and ecology work - for example, through interactive citizen science and public engagement - and use my love of the natural world as the key inspiration for my artwork.

In the world of conservation, I focus on applicable research, public collaboration and new technologies and techniques to promote the coexistence of people and wildlife. Hard working, multi-skilled and practical, I love to explore multi-disciplinary methods to reach challenging conservation goals. As a creative individual with transferable skills, I can communicate science to a variety of audiences in different and engaging ways and I have great experience of public engagement. My studies and fieldwork has developed me into a competent ecologist. I also believe that successful conservation rests largely in the hands of those who live alongside wildlife, and enabling communities to benefit from and actively protect wildlife is a fundamental goal of mine.

My huge passion for art and creativity has led me to spend over 15 years as a community artist. Working first alongside my family and later as an independent artist, I have run all manner of arts-related workshops in schools, museums and galleries and with various community groups and non profits. My most extensive work has been on Caribbean carnivals, designing and creating award-winning, large scale statement pieces and working alongside carnival troupes to create accompanying costumes. I’ve worked all over the North West; some examples include Preston Caribbean Carnival, Leeds Caribbean Carnival, the Bickershaw Heritage Project, Blackpool’s SHOWZAM! and Manchester PRIDE. No matter what, I’m always working on something artistic, be it wildlife art, some new designs for Chiffchaff Crafts or a commissioned portrait.

To see some examples of my work, follow the links below.


Here's my creative skills summary:

  • Award winning costume design and construction including Leeds Caribbean Carnival winning designer
  • Design and delivery of engagement workshops in a variety of art forms including silk painting, block printing, costume making, plus traditional and seasonal crafts
  • Development of new techniques in carnival arts including use of novel materials and lighting
  • Project management and coordination of community arts projects
  • Successful grant writing for art groups (e.g. Arts Council England) and budget management
  • Ability to engage with a variety of audiences including non-English speakers
  • Team leading and team building including employee supervision and mentoring (e.g. carnival apprenticeships)
  • Technical drawing abilities and use of creative programs including the Adobe suite
  • Graphic design skills with a focus on logo development and website design (e.g. Nature CountsMara Predator ProjectWildlife Guardians), information packs, newsletters and promotional materials (e.g. Preston Carnival)


View Carnival Arts

View Creative Projects

Ecology & Conservation


Here's my ecology skills summary:

  • MSc Quantitative Methods in Biodiversity and Conservation (Distinction; University of Glasgow); BSc Zoology (first class honours; Webb Prize; Queen Mary University Of London)
  • Full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology (MCIEEM)
  • Project management in the field of scientific research and public engagement, for example, running big cat research in the Masai Mara and citizen science projects in Sheffield
  • Field skills over a variety of habitats and taxa in the UK and tropics developed through overseas and UK based fieldwork, FSC and CIEEM courses
  • Design and development of engagement materials, for example, nature reserve interpretation panels, information leaflets and digital citizen science materials
  • Advanced quantitative skills in data analysis and data management including ArcGIS, databases, R, MARK, including experimental design and data interpretation
  • Demonstrated skills in writing reports and scientific publications
  • Successful grant writing for conservation research (e.g. Panthera, Don Network Trust)
  • Excellent communication and public engagement skills including presentations to large public audiences
  • Team leading and team building including employee supervision across East Africa and training in both conservation and the arts (e.g. leading Carnival artist apprenticeships)
  • Teaching and tutoring experience across multiple subjects and skill levels from primary to postgraduate

View Ecology Services

View Ecology Projects