Sadly, this week is my last at DWT. I was out with the reserves’ team again this week, this time at a coastal reserve called Blackhall rocks near Hartlepool. The views of the County Durham coast were fantastic. In my first week I was the only girl and this week I was one of only 2 girls out on site! But I go to Imperial, so I’m used to that. The habitat at Blackhall rocks includes woodland, scrub and para-maritime magnesium limestone grassland (wow, what a mouthful). Although scrub provides a good habitat for birds, it is common around the UK.
It’s my penultimate week at DWT. I’ve really enjoyed myself so far and I find the work I’m doing interesting and, most importantly, relevant to my future career goals. As well as this, I feel like the document I am working on will really be of benefit to the overall project and I have written something that my supervisor can actually use. I have been encouraged to add headings and any other information that I think is relevant while reading papers, and I am able to focus on the sections that I find most interesting. Not only does this keep me motivated, but I also have the opportunity to be creative and add my own input to the project, which I think is rare for an intern!
I have been continuing work on the user guide, this week focusing on producing case studies from Living Landscapes and NIAs, where the use of GIS maps would help. Living Landscapes is a nation wide project, created by the Wildlife Trusts, that aims to restore, recreate and reconnect habitats o support native wildlife. This will give species more space to move between patches, increasing their chances of adapting to threats such as climate change. The point of this part of the document is to allow people who would potentially use the maps (trust staff, housing planners etc.) to see how GIS maps would benefit their project.
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.