You cannot hope to write about wildlife without understanding it first and though I in no way, shape or form, profess to be an expert, I have tried to better myself in the fields of conservation and ecology over the years. Graduating from the University of Cumbria with a 2.1 in Animal Conservation Science – a fabulous course that included a research module in the Gambia and culminated in a thesis centred on the diet of otters in the River Petteril – and, later undertaking an MSc in Wildlife Management at Newcastle University. A course with a focus on solving real-world environmental problems and focused, greatly, on the trials of balancing both the needs of nature, and of man.
Education aside, I have worked, previously, as both an Assistant Ranger – for the National Trust for Scotland – and, later, as an ecological field assistant in the Scottish Highlands. The later role taking place under Taylor Wildlife, an ecological consultancy firm. With both roles interspersed with extensive work in public engagement and volunteer placements alongside the RSPB, Operation New World, Trinity Youth Association, Red Squirrels Northern England and additional days spent with groups such as the Tyne Rivers Trust.
Through academic, voluntary and paid work, I have gained skills in a number of fields.With a list of these being shown below:
- Upland bird surveys (Brown and Shepard)
- Seabird productivity monitoring (Walsh et al)
- Seabird whole colony counts
- Wider Countryside Butterfly Surveys
- Trail cam assessments
- Longsworth trapping, release and identification of small mammals
- Grazing impact assessment (Heath and Woodland)
- Phase 1 Habitat surveys
- Wetland bird surveys (WeBs)
- Non-Estuarine Waterbird Surveys (BTO)
- Inter-tidal Surveys
- Cetacean surveying and identification (ORCA)
- Landscape character assessment
- Common Bird Census
- Bat hibernation surveys
- Trapping and humane dispatch of Grey Squirrels
- Otter dietary assessment
- Habitat management and invasive flora control
In addition to the skills listed above, I also possess sound identification skills associated with a number of taxonomic groups, developed through extracurricular interests in birding, moth trapping, butterfly surveys and various citizen science projects. As well experience in the fields of public engagement, interpretation, social media and education. More information with regards to my past career experience can, however, be found on LinkedIN.