British Ecological Society feature: A day in the life of an Assistant Ecologist
Baker Consultant’s newest member of the team, Assistant Ecologist Isabel Commerford, was interviewed by the British Ecological Society Niche magazine about her experience of leaving University and starting her first job during Covid19.
In the article Isabel outlined her experience of leaving University and starting her first job during Covid19. Isabel was awarded a bursary from Ecology Resources Ltd which was facilitated by the BES and has helped her make a strong start to her career in Ecology. She joined Baker Consultants straight from her third year at Manchester Metropolitan University and commented on the experience, “Finishing University can be an unnerving experience for most, but then your last term gets cut short and you’re expected to do exams online, hit the ground running and start a career all during a pandemic. It’s been a challenge!”
“Times are hard right now for those in the early stages of their career, I know I’ve been really lucky to start a graduate job whilst so many of my peers are having to put their plans on hold due to Covid-19. My advice to those at a temporary stand still would be to use this time to develop your field and identification skills. There are so many online resources and learning opportunities (many of which are free!) take a look on websites such as the BES, CIEEM and Field Studies Council for webinars to get involved in.”
“I’m loving my new position with Baker Consultants, the work is so varied and interesting. I have learnt so much in the past 6 months but am looking forward to continuing developing my skills ” said Isabel in her interview. So we thought we’d put together an article showcasing some of the jobs she has been involved in during her first 6 months with us.
Earlier in the year, Isabel was pictured on our social media timelines engaged in the business of badger bait marking and inspecting Badger latrines in south Oxfordshire, but her job has encompassed a far wider range of activities than just this!
Isabel joined the company in April at the beginning of the bat survey season. She has been involved in many different projects using a variety of survey methods for bats. Survey objectives range from determining the presence or absence of bat roosts, bat activity surveys or building inspections for their potential to support bats. The picture above was taken by Isabel during a nocturnal emergence survey of a building in Mansfield. Here she was recording bat echolocation calls using an Echo Meter Touch and Ipad to identify the species whilst also looking for any bats emerging from the building when a cockchafer beetle landed on her hand.
Here Isabel is undertaking a reptile survey in Nottinghamshire to gain an understanding of common lizard population size and distribution. Mats are placed throughout the site and checked by an ecologist on multiple occasions. Reptiles use the mats as a heat source and will bask on or under them.
Next steps for Isabel include attending a QGIS course with the Field Studies Council and a bat ecology course run by CIEEM to develop new skills that will be helpful for her job as an Assistant Ecologist. She is looking forward to developing her data analysis and report writing skills on a variety of different projects. She will be expanding her knowledge in the application of Biodiversity Net Gain and is eager to help the team with field work such as habitat surveys during the winter months with the company.
Baker Consultants provide a wide range of ecology consultancy services from bat surveys on domestic properties and badger bait marking surveys on farmland to estate management planning and consultancy on SPAs and SSSIs.