While much of the expat-Zimbabwean’s time is spent in his role as a humanities teacher and head of his school’s Year 9 boys boarding dorm, another passion sees him return to his homeland each year for vital conservation work.
Home is the magnificent Zambezi River and with his brothers James and Benji, the three have set up Diwa Zambezi - a wildlife conservation charity and tour company that pours all its profits back into local communities.
Educating tourists and these local communities are the charity’s main roles.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List says up to two-thirds of the world's large animals, including elephants, rhinoceros, and big cats, face extinction.
The illegal bushmeat trade and poaching are constant headaches.
“The very real problem we have is, as wonderful as tourism is for people who run operations on the ground, generally speaking, they are owned by already very wealthy people, and our international visitors, generally speaking, will land at an airport, be picked up in a really nice vehicle, be transported to a luxury lodge, and then have their experience, jump back in the car and go back to the airport and fly out,” Blevin says.
“In that time, if we talk about the benefits of tourism for the local communities, there’s actually very close to zero.
“With the exception of the people who are employed in the lodges, it doesn’t actually really help anyone.
"So when you ask about placing a value on tourism for those local people, they don’t see it.
“They say, ‘mate if I can shoot that impala over there, I’m going to get a meal out of it, you’re telling me to let this bloke take photos of it and not to harm it, well, what am I getting out of leaving it alone?’.
“At the end of the day – that’s the greatest challenge – actually educating our tourists about the fact that you need to make tourism about more than just going to get your happy snap to throw on the wall at home (or on Instagram or Facebook), you’re actually able to create real change in the lives of people if you travel the right way.
By that, Blevin, who like his brothers is fluent in Shona, the major tribal dialect in Zimbabwe, means making sure that a part of your trip is to go and visit a local village, and when you buy trinkets, instead of buying them from Johannesburg Airport, you buy them from the villagers.
For locals, it’s also about trying to create a value around their wildlife, which means employment and education opportunities.
“You talk to them, you have interaction and then they will start to see tourists as a positive, rather than ‘they’re here again, but they’re not actually doing anything with us or for us’.
Blevin’s family were forced off their farm in 2003 as a result of the Mugabe Government's controversial land reform program, but he remembers much about his childhood and enjoys opportunities to include it in his teaching where he can.
“I’m primarily a Geography teacher and I’ve found it really beneficial, primarily when I’m teaching units like human wellbeing, because I’m obviously able to relate direct stories.
“So we often talk about sub-Sahara and Africa – like, today we were talking about AIDS and AIDS litigation and sub-Saharan Africa, that’s my childhood, so I’m able to build in stories, tell them things that have happened across the world, so I can paint a good picture and get some really good engagement out of the kids when we talk about concepts other than what happens in Australia."
The charity is going well, but Blevin is under no illusions.
“The reality of conservation in Africa is it’s an ongoing battle, a lifetime commitment, it’s not something I see as a stop-gap.
“At the end of the day what I would like one day, for instance, if I’m lucky enough to have a son or daughter, and they ask me about what an elephant used to look like, if I can say ‘I gave it my all and I actually tried to make a difference and stop people from destroying this wonderful thing that we have’ and we can still look at it on something more than an iPad, and still take safaris, I think that’s the goal we want to accomplish.”
As far as tangible goals for Diwa Zambezi go, he says they’d like to purchase a large block of land and eventually reintroduce rhinos to the Lower Zimbabwe National Park.
In the meantime the company’s six board members are intent on more tangible things, like contributing funding to the conservation of the lower Zambezi, or other similar organisations, where they use that funding, for example, to set up ranger stations, to pay for fuel and vehicles, to pay for new rangers’ wages, and “they’re starting to get drones up and about, which is awesome,” Blevin says.
“You never know, we might find a really great benefactor and we can make that happen in six months, then we’ve got 150,000 other goals that we can set.”