Jasmin has been here on placement in the Exeter office for 3 months. With her last week approaching, she takes a look back at the last few weeks.
I am now entering the last two weeks of my time here at Acorn Ecology and starting to review everything that I have learnt – which is A LOT!
Some people might think there isn’t a lot for a placement student to do at a consultancy during the winter, but I can assure you that there is still plenty of valuable experience to gain in the office as well as out in the field.
An important aspect of any survey report is a map to illustrate details of a site. Maps which I have made during my placement have included building and roof plans, bat survey routes and PEA results. Handy applications I have used include Microsoft Publisher and Google Earth and I have also been able to familiarise myself with the Phase 1 Handbook. Map making has been a really useful skill to learn and it will definitely help me when I go back to University for my final year.
This has been one of the tasks I have valued most during my office time at Acorn. Being involved in the preliminary survey and the report writing has been really useful – knowing you will be writing up a report will make you much more diligent during the survey. Part of the report involves a data search using MAGIC Map. I have used this application in my degree so it’s been great to see its use in development projects. Another skill which will definitely help me in my studies and my career.
Office, media & teaching resources:
The office resources I have been working on have involved reviewing wildlife legislation and local planning policies. Legislation is a fundamental part of wildlife conservation, and during times where it all seems a bit up in the air it is very important to stay up to date. Local planning policies also significantly influence the protection of wildlife during development projects. Learning about this has been very beneficial and has helped me better understand the role of ecological consultants.
Recently I wrote a blog post for National Tree Week, highlighting the importance of tree surveys during development projects. Tasks like this really help you put your new found knowledge into context and are another way to improve your writing skills.
Over the past few weeks I have been contributing to course material focused on architecture for ecologists. It’s worth familiarising yourself with architectural terms, such as roof structures and tile materials, for when you are going to be doing lots of bat roost surveys.
All in all I have had a very well-rounded placement and have equally enjoyed my time in the office and out on surveys.
As this is my last blog post, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful team at Acorn Ecology’s Exeter office for all of the knowledge and advice they have shared with me. Despite joining the team at the tail end of the survey season, I have been out on many bat surveys, reptile surveys, dormouse box checks, Ecological Clerk of Work jobs and even a badger set consultation! I have massively improved my identification skills of birds and trees and am starting to get the hang of plant ID too. The past 3 months have been so worthwhile and I feel much more prepared to enter the world of ecology when I graduate from Reading University in 2019. If you are interested in getting experience in ecological consultancy then absolutely get in touch with Acorn Ecology.
Thank you and have a very merry Christmas!
Jaz has been a fantastic student to have in the office and we are going to miss her! If you are interested in a placement at Acorn Ecology let us know. The Exeter office is looking for a volunteer from January 2018. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss this opportunity.