Trainee blogs

Blog reports from two Wildlife Trust Trainee Ecologists
Trainee blog 2

Hi, I’m Sofie, and I am the 8 month trainee Ecologist with HIWWT. This role couldn’t have started at a stranger time, but after having a delayed start due to the Covid-19 lockdown I have now enjoyed 3 weeks in my role, and can’t wait for a summer in the field enjoying being in nature. Before landing this position I have hopped around various roles and placements types, from carrying out habitat management on wetland and chalk grassland nature reserves to working in an ecological consultancy managing development and habitat creation projects.

I am excited that this role will allow me to visit a wide range of habitats, and learn about the ecology of a wide range of species. On my first outing I was lucky enough to be able to meet my Ecology team on one of our sites which consists of a huge parcel of land that is being re-wilded. Between us all, by the end of this season we will have carried out surveys for butterflies, bumblebees, aquatic invertebrates, dragonflies, breeding birds, and Great Crested Newts! I am really excited to see where this project goes and to watch how the land comes to life over the coming months. What’s more, the site has already given me some exciting nature encounters, from handling my first great crested newt, to hearing two nightjar churring in the late hours of a survey. The nightjar encounter was particularly special, of course due to the incredible alien like sound they make, but also due to their decline in the UK, and the fact that they are nocturnal (I won’t be hearing them on any of my weekend walks!).

I have also enjoyed learning about how the diversity of aquatic invertebrates is an excellent indicator for freshwater habitat health, plus the number of different ways we can assess for their presence, such as carrying out detailed analysis of the families present, or just having a good old fashioned pond dip!

Trainee blog 3

Hello, my name is Josh and I am the 6 month Trainee Ecologist with HIWWT and I started 12th May 2020. This is my first full-time paid role in ecology/conservation and I am grateful for the Trust in advertising a role like this, because it seems to be increasingly difficult to ‘get a foot in the door’ in this sector of work. I have grown up in Hampshire with an obsession for wildlife. This obsession has taken me to multiple HIWWT reserves in search of reptiles, invertebrates, birds and more. Being employed to work on some of the Trust’s sites now is something that I never thought would be possible! 

Before joining HIWWT, I studied Zoology and then went into a biology technician job. I soon realised that this is not what I wanted to do, as I prefer being outside and doing hands-on work with wildlife. The Trust has provided an opportunity to do just that. 

In my first few weeks with HIWWT I have had the opportunity to assist in various surveys, such as Great Crested Newt bottle trapping, walking butterfly transects and helping out in bat emergence surveys across the county. In addition, I am looking forward carrying out surveys that I have not done in depth before, such as freshwater invertebrate and small mammal surveys. Learning these new survey techniques will give me an experience boost that will be beneficial to my future ecological career. 

Considering the fact that I joined during the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been very impressed with the quality and frequency of communication among staff and my closer colleagues. It is a wonderful feeling to see how we are still doing what’s best for nature despite this difficult time that the country is going through.