I was first introduced to Ecosulis at Bristol University’s Internship career fair back in October 2014. At that time I hadn’t even heard of ecological consultancy as a career option, but after talking to staff I was keen to find out more and get involved.
Now I’ve reached the end of my internship and although I still have much more to learn, my summer at Ecosulis has allowed me to explore many different aspects of ecological consultancy from research collection, surveying, mapping and report writing whilst getting involved with conservation directly to protect British wildlife.
The majority of the work has been bat surveys which run into the night or at dawn. This have given me the opportunity to observe and record spectacular bat activity and foraging behaviour up and down the hedgerows whilst also being lucky enough to witness the British wildlife that appears at night including foxes, badgers and hedgehogs.
A typical bat survey would involve watching an access point in a building, to observe and record any bats emerging. We often used a ‘Batlogger’, which is a device that detects the specific frequencies at which at bat echolocates and therefore allows us to identify the correct bat species found at the site. Alternatively, activity surveys are conducted which involved walking along a transect at a site and stopping at set points to observe and record types of bat activity and the specific species found there.
These surveys throughout the season have not only widely increased my understanding of ecological consultancy but also has greatly improved my knowledge of bats and their ecology.
Aside from bat surveys, I’ve been involved with habitats suitability assessments, which involve assessing potential sites and the surrounding flora and fauna to determine the extent of potential opportunity for protected species to be active there. Additional work has included reptile surveys, and setting up camera traps, which has been a great way to enjoy the summer sunshine.
When not doing field work, I’ve carried out office work at Ecosulis, this has really helped me understand the whole process of environmental consultancy from start to finish through assigning jobs and writing the final reports which get sent along with the final planning application of a site. It has also allowed me to become familiar with computer software I’d never used before!
In summary, I’ve had a brilliant and educational summer thanks to varied hand on experience at Ecosulis whom have made me feel very welcome. In particular the assistant ecologists, Frances, Sarah and Annie who have been very patient in successfully answering every single question I’ve had and more, whilst being great fun! Thank you! Alice Chaimberlain.