Phil is currently working on his PhD at the University of Roehampton, London. His work involves identifying phenotypic traits associated with increased breeding success in certain individuals within a seabird population. The main study species involved in his work is the Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) on Puffin Island (North Wales). To understand the potential traits linked with reproductive success he employs both physiological and morphological measures. In particular the use of accelerometers is key to his work; providing fine scale information on the at-sea activity of foraging birds. Through studying what makes certain individuals more successful, Phil hopes that the outcomes of his work will inform future conservation decisions.
Before starting his PhD, Phil completed a Master’s in Marine Biology at the University of Southampton and subsequently worked on Skomer Island with the OxNav group. Through this work he developed his keen interest in seabirds along with enhancing the skills necessary to carry out effective research. A Focus on Nature has helped Phil through providing a grant towards a scope. The scope is essential for confident identification of individual birds and has proved to be an extremely valuable tool in his data collection.
Birder & Naturalist.
Imogen is currently studying Environmental Science at the University of Notttingham, and has a huge interest in nature, with a particular emphasis on birds.
With the help of A Focus On Nature, she aspires to have a career in the wildlife sector, and make a positive impact on the natural world. As well as developing her own knowledge of birds, she also hopes to educate and share her passion with other like-minded people. She believes that social media is an extremely valuable tool, and an excellent way of portraying current affairs such as nature conservation. With this in mind, she has created a Twitter account, @birdfactsUK, which is full of interesting and unusual bird facts that she has researched, so please feel free to follow her, and tweet any other bird-related things that you see.
Evan has had a lifelong passion for wildlife and nature. After college, Evan spent three months in British Columbia, Canada, helping to monitor the behaviour of orca in the inner passages between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada, which sparked a fascination for marine wildlife in particular. He consequently studied Marine Vertebrate Zoology at the University of Wales, Bangor and went on to complete an MSc in Conservation & Biodiversity at the University of Exeter. During his studies, Evan volunteered a great deal of his time on a number of conservation projects. He chaired the Bangor University Zoological Society, which entailed encouraging his fellow students to get active in a number of local conservation projects. During the long university summers he worked as voluntary wildlife guide on passenger ferries and cruise ships traversing the seas of the North Atlantic, from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle, spreading marine awareness to members of the public along the way. Evan currently works as an environment lead with the Royal Mail where he engages with thousands of staff to promote a more sustainable future for the business. Additionally, he finds time to spend plenty of hours undertaking wildlife surveys and helping with outreach activities in his local area around South West London. Most recently, this included being a team member in the pilot A Focus on Nature Project, focusing on people’s relationship with urban wildlife in and around London.
Benno is currently studying Geography at the University of Oxford, where he has developed his interest in conservation. His final year dissertation investigates abiotic heterogeneity as a potential biodiversity surrogate in the UK, examining the role of hydrological, pedological, geological and topographical factors.
Benno aspires to an academic career, intending to complete a Masters and PhD after his graduation. He has a wide variety interests including conservation planning, human-wildlife conflicts and complexity theory, as well as the links between academic, conservation research and on-the-ground practical conservation. Beyond his academic studies, Benno is Secretary and Fundraiser for the Oxford Nature Conservation Society and a volunteer for both Surrey Wildlife Trust and Oxford Conservation Volunteers.
Thea is a conservation ecologist working with international based NGOs. Her work has been mainly based in Indonesian and UK habitats. With experience in science communication, eco-educational outreach and as a member of AFON, she hopes that accurate on-the-ground studies, along with fantastic 21st century photography, filming and pioneers of conservation can tell the stories of the most biodiverse places on earth. She has experienced numerous various ecological opportunities, and currently has a job in Ecological Communications for an NGO.
Amy Robjohns is a first year Environmental Science student at the University of Southampton. She has been interested in nature from a young age, especially birds, but developed a greater interest in bird watching when she was 12. More recently, Amy realised that a career in conservation was what she wanted to do so has been a trainee bird ringer since 2012, and is working towards a C permit. She also began volunteering for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust in 2013 for 6 months as part one of the conservation work parties, something she plans to continue outside of term time.
Wildlife Artist and Photographer.
Having graduated in 2013 with an MSci (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Nottingham, Clare now runs the undergraduate laboratory in Geography as a technician at the University of Nottingham. Clare focused on behavioural and ecological modules during her degree, and carried out a research project into the behaviour of captive meerkats (Suricatta suricata). She also spent a year and a half after university, whilst also working full time, volunteering as a zoo keeper in her spare time at Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park. Clare likes walking her two dogs and taking part in agility. She also enjoys wildlife spotting – her team won the ‘most species seen’ category in the University Birdwatch Challenge in 2013. Throughout her life Clare has relished being creative, and she participated in Biological Photography modules at University. She continues to enjoy taking photos of wildlife, and also doing wildlife artwork. Clare was on the committee for the East Midlands branch of the Royal Society of Biology for some years, although is currently taking a break from this.
Ryan is an ecologist, conservationist and wildlife photographer; who is currently on a one year TCV Natural Talent Entomology Traineeship based with Buglife and Natural England. A lifelong wildlife recorder, Ryan tries to record as many taxonomic groups as he can identify, but his main passions are for plants and pollinators. He has now recorded around 2000 species in Britain and tries to identify every species he comes across. He is one of five volunteers who co-ordinate the annual Garden BioBlitz and is passionate about citizen science as well as using his blog and Twitter (@RyanClarkNature) to encourage other young people to get more involved in wildlife and biological recording. An active member of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, Ryan sits on their Meetings and Communications Committee and is the co-ordination of their New Year Plant Hunt. He is also a keen wildlife photographer and has won awards for his work.
View his photography: http://ryanclarknaturephotography.wordpress.com
Visit his website: http://ryansnaturenews.blogspot.co.uk
International Wildlife Supporter.
For many years Lorna has known that she has wanted to be a conservationist. Growing up in Wales gave her plenty of opportunities to explore nature and fuel her passion. Her love for animals began when her grandparent got her a giant panda teddy, and she quickly became fascinated with anything related and expanded her knowledge on their conservation. She was a member of the RSPB as a child and currently sponsors a dolphin in Scotland via the WDCS and amur leopards in Russia through the WWF. She is working towards a degree in Zoology at the University of Nottingham which she hopes will help her get closer to achieving her goal of becoming a nature conservationist. Whilst at university she has done a variety of modules – from ecology and evolution to biological photography and field work in Portugal – which have helped her gain knowlege about the natural world.
Ryan is an aspiring scientist, interested in the natural world, studying towards a BSc (Honours) Environmental Science degree. He will be working on independent research into ecological matters such as how anthropological activity is affecting the distribution of certain species of flora and fauna. He also runs the website activisionary.org.uk that focusses on nature that is in early stages of developing into some form of environmental education organization.
With an ever growing passion for the natural world, Connie is a zoology student at the University of Nottingham who aims to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. As a member of the WWF, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and an enthusiastic volunteer for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Connie is already a proactive young conservationist who contributes to the protection of wildlife in her local area and further afield. For her A level extended project qualification, Connie investigated the contributing factors to honey bee decline in the UK; which culminated in a 10,000 word report and a presentation summarising her key findings and conclusions. Believing that communication is key to sustaining conservation, Connie blogs about her encounters with wildlife in the hope of inspiring others to connect with the natural world and fight to conserve its future. Connie also shares her passion for wildlife through the mediums of photography and art. This Summer Connie’s passion took her to Chiang Mai in Thailand where she volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park to assist in the everyday care of the elephants. She was thrilled by the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the protection of these magnificent, sadly endangered, mammals and and has become an Ambassador for the Save Elephant Foundation to stand up for the rights of the Asian Elephant.
Follow her blog to keep updated with her latest wild adventures: https://thewildling.wordpress.com/
Zoe is currently studying for a Masters in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation at UCL. She hopes to start her career in conservation as soon as she finishes her degree in September, and is looking to move away from academia to a more active part of the conservation sector such as campaigning or policy-making. At the moment, she is working on a research project looking at human engagement with nature in Greater London. She believes that, as the world becomes increasing urbanised, conservation of urban biodiversity and ecosystems will become equally as important as protecting “pristine wilderness”. She is taking a keen interest in the Greater London National Park initiative, and hopes that the UK’s capital will lead the way for urban conservation around the world. Zoe is also very interested in the debate surrounding bovine tuberculosis and badger culling in the UK, having conducted a previous research project on the issue where she spent 6 weeks in some of the worst affected areas of south west England using remote cameras to film badger-cattle interactions.
Aside from her studies, Zoe has spent two field seasons both working and volunteering with Operation Wallacea at their Indonesia and Honduras sites. She also likes to attend events at the Zoological Society of London and Natural History Museum, where she can hear expert discussion of today’s most pressing issues in conservation.
As with most people, Will’s passion for wildlife manifested itself from an early age. First birds, then moth trapping, orchids and dragonflies, his chief interest is Butterflies, breeding and photographing them, and he volunteers regularly for Butterfly Conservation (walking transects on his patch and on Exmoor, and managing the BC Somerset Facebook page), also enjoys taking the time to engage in an unrelenting pursuit of Brown and Purple Hairstreaks on his patch, camera in hand (he was highly commended in the 2015 British Wildlife Photography awards). As this passion for butterflies grew, so did a fascination for the study of ecology that underpins their conservation (its importance obvious for the Large Blue at Collard Hill, where he volunteers for the National Trust). Having achieved full marks for an Extended Project on the Ecology of Small Coppers, he hopes to pursue this new interest, by studying Biology at University and then making a difference to the conservation of the butterflies that he so loves as an Ecologist.
Alejandra is currently undertaking PhD studies at University of Roehampton, London. She is investigating which traits determine “individual quality” in Caribbean seabirds. Her project includes the study of morphological, behavioural and physiological traits, and its correlation with proxies of fitness; fieldwork takes place in British Oversea Territories in the Caribbean. Broadly, her research interests focuses in avian ecology, mainly ecophysiology. She is especially interested in how environmental factors influences physiology and behaviour, thereby affecting traits and processes at the individual and population level. Interested? Check her blog http://alejandratoledoecology.weebly.com/ and the following webpages about her research group http://rubel.org.uk and her project in the Caribbean http://www.caribbeanseabirds.org.uk
Apart from pursuing a career in science, she aims to contribute to improving conservation efforts with knowledge about the ecology of birds, how and why they respond from changes in the environment, and how we can monitor and mitigate the impact. She is also aware that conservation cannot be done without engaging people and networking.
Jess is currently employed by the National Marine Aquarium to Coordinate the Community Seagrass Initiative in Weymouth, Dorset. This project aims to engage volunteers and the public with seagrass conservation in South West England. Her previous role as Marine Conservation Trainee at Dorset Wildlife Trust as part of their Skills for the Future programme gave her the opportunity to gain valuable skills and provided that all important first step on the career ladder. After graduating with an MSci Marine Biology from Southampton University, Jess spent time volunteering on marine conservation projects worldwide including spending 8 weeks in the Philippines working on the “Green Fins” project which promotes environmentally friendly diving practices. Jess is a keen SCUBA diver herself and takes part in SeaSearch to help record her local marine life.
Alice Maiden is a second year Zoology student at the University of Nottingham with a passion for animal behaviour and ecology. The foundations of her love for nature were built from a young age, with many fond memories of horse riding and bird watching in the New Forest near her family home. As well as being involved in volunteering for Wildlife Trusts in Nottingham and at home in Southampton, Alice is excited about the privilege to be visiting South Africa in the summer of 2016 as a research assistant in vital elephant
conservation. Inspired by her hero David Attenborough, she is driven to promote global communication and education on nature and conservation, with an ultimate goal of being part of a wildlife documentary team.
Gus is a keen naturalist, aspiring to becoming a well-rounded ecologist. He started off birdwatching, like many others, but soon became interested in identification of other taxon, moving on to trees and mammals, and now working his way through whatever takes his fancy. This passion for knowledge doesn’t only cover identification but also means he is keen to have a greater understanding of ecosystems and the countryside.
Studying Countryside Management BSc at Scotland’s Rural College in Aberdeen has really helped him become more and more aware of the inner workings of the countryside, the issues, the conflicts, and the things that are important to him: biodiversity, conservation and enjoyment! It has also made it possible for Gus to get out and experience work in the countryside through volunteering and meeting more like-minded people who he enjoys being around and sharing experiences and knowledge with.
In his spare time, you can find Gus taking pictures, counting birds, trying to identify everything in his path, and posting on his blog.
View his Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/123521075@N07/
View his blog: https://birdingwithgus.wordpress.com/
Abi is starting her 2nd year studying Zoology at the University of Exeter in September. She threw herself into many opportunities to get involved with nature and conservation at the university and became the Ecological Society’s committee mammal representative. She has a keen passion for studying mammals and enjoys carrying out small mammal trapping surveys. Abi is also a keen expeditioner, particularly when it involves searching for wildlife! Currently completing DofE Gold and looking to set up a scientific research expedition abroad. Leading a field trip to Lundy Island with the Ecological Society was a fantastic experience and the group spent four days doing a BioBlitz of the island.
She is looking forward to an exciting month of travelling Africa in August. Firstly, climbing Kilimanjaro for charity and then travelling to Namibia to do some wildlife conservation volunteering at a sanctuary and on a cheetah release project.
Abi is undertaking an internship with a PhD student at university doing behavioural studies on Chestnut Crowned Babblers which is thoroughly interesting. Her ultimate career goals would be to complete a PhD herself and work abroad, ideally in Africa, for a conservation organisation.
Abigail graduated from the University of Southampton with a 2:1 in Environmental Sciences and will be going on to study Conservation Science and Policy at the University of Exeter in 2016. Since graduating from Southampton Abigail has been working as the Conservation Officer for A Rocha UK in an intern capacity. She has been monitoring bumblebee and butterfly populations over ARUK’s two London sites and has had the opportunity to begin her training as a bird ringer.
Whilst working for A Rocha she has volunteered with the London Wildlife Trust on a small mammal trapping programme and with Mostly Bats and the London Bat Group. Abigail also project manages a community wildlife garden at her church in East London, working very closely with the local community to get them involved in the garden. In her spare time Abigail is an avid gardener, artist and writer.
Follow the garden’s progress at www.diggingsblog.wordpress.com
Freya recently graduated from Durham University with a first class BSc (Hons) in Biology and Geography (within Natural Sciences). During her time at university, her individual research projects focused on understanding the interaction between environmental factors and biodiversity. Within this theme she carried out research in the Swiss Alps, Firth of Clyde and Yorkshire Dales. Her dissertation research focused on the impact of historic metal mining on stream chemistry and riparian biodiversity in the River Swale, North Yorkshire. For her outstanding fieldwork she was awarded the Barker Prize by Durham Biosciences as well as the Geography Natural Sciences Prize and overall Natural Sciences Prize for a BSc student. Her passion and drive to improve understanding of biodiversity drove her to volunteer as a camera trap technician with local citizen science project, MammalWeb, which aims to monitor wildlife in the North East. Currently working as an ecological consultant, in the long-term she aspires to follow a career in scientific research, completing a Masters and/or PhD. She hopes to use research and understanding to improve and restore the natural world as well as maintaining an active role in communicating with the broader community and undertaking practical conservation
At 15 Anya started volunteering for the Rutland Water Osprey Project and fell in love with birds and other British wildlife. She then went on to study Wildlife Conservation at Nottingham Trent University, where she took a placement year working at Rutland Water Nature Reserve as a Trainee Reserve Officer. This allowed her to gain a multitude of skills, as well as collect data for her dissertation studying the effects of habitat management on breeding waders. While at University Anya travelled to the Arctic islands of Svalbard to work as a research assistant and later visited South Africa to study the amazing wildlife found there.
After University Anya took a short contract with the RSPB as Community Engagement Officer for the Wessex Stone-Curlew project. This has allowed her to work with yet another amazing British species. Anya will soon be starting her Masters in Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation at Nottingham Trent University.
Georgie is a keen spirited Zoologist, driven like a moth to a flame to anything wildlife orientated, and is eager to tell the world about what she learns. As Science Editor of Impact, the university magazine, she ensures Nottingham students are kept informed on not just the natural world around the city, but on conservation issues in the county as well. Georgie has a particular interest in ornithology, helping her local ringing group in between studies. Last year her dissertation helped to inform the conservation of the European Nightjar, through investigating the effects of human disturbance on breeding success. Georgie hopes to leave university to start her career in nature writing, continuing a life-long passion originating from about the time she was able to pick up mud! You can follow Georgie on her blog at: www.georgieswildblog.wordpress.com or on twitter @georgiewildbray
Isla Hodgson is a researcher in conservation science, and a wildlife journalist and communicator. After vehemently refusing to ‘become an academic’, Isla is now in the second year of her PhD and loving it. She studies conservation conflict – the interactions between humans and wildlife – and hopes to work on mitigation strategies on cases across the world. Her main goal is to work on anti-poaching methods in Africa. A passionate communicator, Isla freelances as a researcher for natural history film, and has just directed her first BBC programme on raptor conflict in Scotland. She has also been asked to turn her popular blog, Where the Wild Things Live, into a book. Isla writes of her adventures with wildlife in the UK, in the hopes that it will inspire other young people to appreciate the nature we have right here in Britain. She hopes one day to travel the world, working as a conservationist and enthusing others to do the same through her work in the media.
Katherine is currently working on her PhD at the University of St Andrews. Her work investigates the behavioural responses of seals to offshore energy activities. She is particularly interested in how marine animals cope and react to underwater noise in the ever-more urbanised marine environment. For her project, she is using data on seal movement to explore how their behaviour may be altered during the construction and operation of offshore windfarms and tidal turbines. This research will inform future developments to ensure seals can coexist safely with marine renewables. Prior to her PhD, Katherine completed an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and a Master’s in Marine Mammal Science, and most recently worked as a TCV Natural Talent Trainee at National Museums Scotland. She is passionate about conservation, environmental outreach and wildlife of all shapes and sizes. In her spare time, you will often find her photographing, recording, watching or reading about nature.
Lauren is currently a zoology student at the University of Exeter (Penryn campus), and has a keen interest in the topics of conservation, welfare, and showcasing what British wildlife used to be like. With a wish to experience as much of society and the world to obtain a well-rounded view of conservation, Lauren takes on every opportunity that is given. Lauren has been working through her zoological bucket list very quickly, with an internship with Elephants and Bees in Kenya building beehive fences to deter elephant crop-raiding, western horseback riding in California, and visiting the Yukon for a field course. Lauren is currently working towards obtaining a dormouse surveying licence, and is completing her dissertation in the effects of aromatherapy on stress in dogs in rescue centres.