I am originally from the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, but with Welsh family, spent a lot of holidays in the UK as a child. I lived in North Wales for a couple of years when I was younger. With parents who were both professional biologists, I was introduced to the concept of ecological fieldwork at a very young age. I remember more than one occasion turning over rocks at the bottom of a stream, in competition with my brother, to see who could find the first caddisfly!
I went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada to get a degree in Biology and was able to focus on conservation and ecology in my higher-level courses. After graduating, I worked in Canada for a few years, but then decided to strike out somewhere different, and in 2007, found myself in Cambridge looking for something to do. The local Wildlife Trust were advertising midweek volunteer team opportunities to do practical conservation on nature reserves and I joined in for the first time on a miserably wet and rainy day in February. A bit of bad weather didn’t put me off, and the welcoming group of volunteers helped too. I was offered the chance to have a more formal Volunteer Conservation Officer role, including helping with surveys and office work as well as the practical work. I did this for about a year while working part-time.
In 2008, I joined the staff of the Wildlife Trust as Conservation Officer. I have been working as part of the Wider Countryside Team since then, doing a range of different jobs: ecological surveys, working with landowners (including a great group of farmers in the West Cambridgeshire Hundreds Living Landscape) and reviewing planning applications.
I have recently taken on a new role as Senior Monitoring and Research Officer, and will be involved in our programme of ecological surveys across the three counties. I will also be looking at the effects of different types of management on nature reserves, and am hoping to start getting out later in the summer to do grassland monitoring, and get to know some of our nature reserves better. I am also looking forward to working with our dedicated group of volunteers who help with everything from surveys to dormouse box construction and data processing. In the meantime, I am getting my daily dose of nature (and practicing some ID skills!) out in the garden.