Tell us a little bit about you and your job
I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Zoology but I didn’t do a master’s and I knew that in order to get a foot in the door, volunteering was the way to go so I started volunteering at Biodiverse Consulting back in March.
I am also working towards a qualification in ecological consultancy, which lasts around eight months. Vicki saw that I had taken it upon myself to work towards this qualification, and she could tell how passionate I was about bettering myself, so she recently offered me a part-time role at Biodiverse Consulting.
Excitingly, the course finishes in October and when it’s complete, I’m going full-time! It has been such a fast-paced and inspiring year, and I just can’t believe how far I’ve come.
What attributes do you think you need to be successful in this industry?
It’s important to have a lot of knowledge of wildlife law. The legislation is always changing so having the expertise and constantly building on it is essential.
A slightly less pragmatic attribute is the passion you need to succeed. To be able to truly throw yourself into this field, you need to have a genuine interest in protecting wildlife and allowing biodiversity to thrive while development goes ahead.
For me, perseverance has also been crucial. I wouldn’t be where I am today without a self-starting attitude and a lot of determination.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A lot of my friends ask the same question when we talk about my job, and I can never tell them! There is no such thing as a typical day.
One day you could be doing a dawn bat survey, which means getting up at 3 am and working until around 12 pm, but another day might look like making a pot of tea, throwing yourself into report writing, and working from home. There’s no chance of getting stuck in a rut, that’s for sure.
Which projects stand out as highlights?
My highlight was an experience I had while working on a bat transect survey. I had just started at Biodiverse Consulting and we began the survey at dusk. I couldn’t believe my eyes because I managed to spot a badger - I just saw a little face peeking out at me, and I so badly wanted to take a photo but it was gone before I could.
Badgers are a really shy species. Any time we do a badger survey we don’t even try to spot them, we just gauge if they’re in an area by looking for signs (like latrines, setts, footprints, and hairs), so this was an amazing moment for me because it’s super rare to spot them in the wild.
What is the best part about working at Biodiverse Consulting?
I think the best part is that it’s a boutique consultancy so we have a very tight-knit team. Any question you have, you just ask. The culture is warm, welcoming, and accommodating.
Vicki also cares a lot about my own professional development, which I think is rare for someone as busy as her! Personally, I’m very interested in bats and Vicki gets really involved in helping me take all the steps necessary to get my bat license. With her encouragement, I know I’ll be able to take real strides in this area of ecology.
Any advice you have for people who may be interested in being an ecologist?
I think it’s tough when you’re fresh out of university to land a job in ecology. Animal-related jobs are quite few and far between, so building your experience is vital to standing out.
I’d say my top piece of advice is to put yourself out there. If you proactively reach out to consultancies asking to volunteer or get involved in surveys, you’ll build your expertise and also get your face out there. If you’ve volunteered for a consultancy before applying for a job there, it’s safe to assume you might be favoured during the interview process.
What are three words you’d use to describe Biodiverse Consulting?
Collaborative, nurturing, and fun!