Josh spent 4 weeks with the Bristol team in September. His blog is a great example of how work changes over the survey season. In September the field work slows down a bit and changes, with fewer emergence/re-entry surveys for bats and more reptile surveys than at the height of summer.
There is also more office-based work as season-long surveys need wrapping up, with the last of the data analysis and the final report to produce. If you decide to do the PLUS course, think about what it is you need out of your placement. The time of year will be important and will dictate the type of work you will be involved with. As Josh says, if you already have survey experience, then September is a great time to get to grips with analysis and report writing.
Here’s Josh’s experience:
I’ve just finished my 4 week placement at the Bristol branch of Acorn Ecology. After working all summer as a seasonal field ecologist I was looking forward to experiencing the more office-based side of ecological consultancy.
From day one I welcomed into the office by Steph and Hannah and we went out to undertake a couple of reptile surveys. I had performed many reptile surveys throughout the summer so it was good to see how the results we collected were put into a report and used to suggest further mitigation. In the first week I started writing reptile, bat scoping and PEA reports which gave a great overview of the typical work I’d expect as an ecologist.
One of the things I felt was missing from my time as a field ecologist was how all the survey data came together for any particular site. On my placement I was given a couple of sites and asked to produce the majority of reports. It was really interesting going from knowing nothing about a site to producing phase 1 maps, internal and external building figures, recommendations for further surveys and much more. By the end of my placement my report writing skills had increased massively, which I feel puts me in a good place when applying for jobs in the future.
Even though the survey season was coming to an end we still managed to go out on quite a few surveys during my time in Bristol. From bat transects to badger monitoring, it was great to go out with Hannah and Steph and I learnt so much from them during my four weeks.
I’d recommend the certificate course to anyone who wants to get into ecological consultancy, throughout this year I’ve learnt so much and gained so many skills. On top of everything else it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met some great people. If anyone gets the opportunity to spend some time with Steph and Hannah in Bristol then take it, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.
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