Last week I started my internship at Durham Wildlife Trust (DWT). I’ve always had a love for nature but it is only recently that I have thought about working for a conservation charity. At the trust, I am working on a project concerning GIS maps of ecosystem services. GIS maps are a relatively recent development in ecology and aim to map ecosystem service demand and supply. This information can then be used to identify areas that provide valuable services and should therefore be conserved, but also “gaps” or areas where there is demand for a service but supply could be improved. A technical user guide for producing the maps has already been made, but my job is to start a more user friendly guide for interpreting the maps for potential users of the maps such as DWT staff or housing planners who have little experience of GIS mapping. For a break from the office, I did some practical work with the reserves team on Thursday at one of DWT’s reserves, Hawthorn Dene. Work involved removing an invasive plant species, called Himalayan balsam, from the woodland. Himalayan balsam was introduced to Britain in the Victorian era, when it was brought back from the Himalayas for its pink flowers. However, the plant is an excellent propagator and can completely take over habitats, out competing native species. Overall, my first week has been a great experience to see how a conservation charity is run and what kind of careers are available in this sector.