I joined EcoNorth in January 2019, determined to learn as much as I could from my internship. Ten months into my role, I accepted a full-time contract and was promoted to Assistant Ecologist. Knowing how competitive ecology placements can be, having met so many like-minded folks throughout my studies and volunteering, I am very grateful for the opportunity.
I’ve probably done more in my one year with EcoNorth than I have across much of my volunteering and studies. I’m really enjoying the day-to-day variability in work and the opportunity to travel throughout the UK.
My favourite moment with EcoNorth up to now would definitely be the several weeks, over the summer, spent in the Scottish Highlands around the River Spey. Although walking all day across peat-bog was hard on the legs, the glorious weather made for some amazing views and bird spotting. I may have missed the breeding pair of Merlin, and Golden Eagle, but there’s always next summer. I did, however, spend some time watching water vole which was a first for me. They really do ‘plop’! I have also really enjoyed installing artificial otter holts as part of mitigation works on a handful of projects, but sadly I’m yet to see an otter in the flesh.
The biggest challenge I have faced thus far was consulting on a sizable residential development within the boundary of the Northumberland Coast SPA. I seized the opportunity to lead on this technical project and produce the habitat regulation assessment on behalf of the local authority.
Some may think me a little unhinged but I’m rather looking forward to getting stuck into next year’s busy survey season, despite the likely sleep deprivation and increased caffeine intake. Not-knowing what I’ll find whilst out in the field is, for me, part of the excitement of the job. For anyone who is interested in a career in ecology, attending events with your local species conservation groups, or working as a seasonal surveyor is a fantastic place to start. The unsociable hours are tough but they allow you to experience some amazing wildlife events!