The Side Job: Video ranger Jari films animals

'My aim in the videos is to bring people and nature closer together.'
As a video ranger, Jari shares his passion for nature. Photo Mira Meijer

Who: Jari Gaarenstroom
What: vlogger for Burgers’ Zoo
Why:  Jari makes videos to share his passion for nature
Hourly wage: €11.00

You’ve got to make ends meet somehow. We can all borrow from Uncle Duo, but there are also students who earn money from unusual side jobs, like Jari Gaarenstroom (24), a Master’s student of Forest and Nature Conservation. As a ‘video ranger’, Jari makes videos about the animal kingdom for Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem.

‘In the Burgers’ Zoo videos, I share my passion for nature. I find nature incredibly interesting and versatile. I take my viewers to places in the zoo that the average visitor doesn’t get to, such as the capybara enclosure. Capybaras are the world’s biggest rodents. Or behind the scenes of the “Ocean”, an aquarium that recreates  a tropical sea. I always film together with a zookeeper. As I film, they feed the animals and talk about their characteristics and peculiarities, teaching me, and the viewer with me, new things about the animal kingdom. If you can put it across well, there is something magical about nature, especially for children. Burgers’ Zoo has divided the park into different eco-displays, in which ecosystems have been simulated with great expertise.

You hold up a stick and start talking to it

Visitors learn how amazing nature can be, but also how vulnerable it is. My aim in the videos is to bring people and nature closer together. I hope this will help to convince the general public of the importance of nature conservation. I make the vlogs and TikToks with a whole team: there is usually a readymade script, and I’m surrounded by camera operators. I sometimes think up my own topics too.

I didn’t have any experience before starting as a video ranger at Burgers’ Zoo. You need self-confidence to be a presenter – you’ve got to do it with conviction. So before my first video at the zoo, I practised vlogging in a shopping mall, ha ha! That did feel silly at first – you hold up a stick and start talking to it. But it did help! I hope more opportunities will come my way in future, as I have ambitions to carry on with this sort of thing. I dream of one day having my own TV show about nature. Freek Vonk is a hero, of course, but I don’t want to copy him. I want to be myself and create my own TV personality. That’s what I’m exploring and developing now.’

You can follow Jari online on his personal channels (TikTok, Insta, YouTube) under the name @jarigaarenstroom.

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