Baker Consultants

The Diary of an Ecology Apprentice: Goodbye 2023 & Hello 2024

As he embarks upon year two of his ecology apprenticeship, Matthew shares what he’s been up to with his colleagues at Rothamsted Research, how he’s been getting on with a huge mapping project that’s been soaking up his time, and his hopes for 2024. Read his latest diary entry below:

December started with a huge rush. The deadline for one of our projects, which had been taking up a lot of my time for a few weeks, was coming up. The group involved in the project huddled together and managed to get it done. It was the biggest project I’d been involved in, and gave me hours more of desk study and BNG mapping experience.

The day after the project completion, Carlos, Karthik and I travelled to Rothamsted Research for our monthly visit. It was a wet and windy day but, nonetheless, we had soil to listen to! While attempting to minimise geophonies (noises from natural forces i.e. wind and rain) we collected our samples. It’s important to review the data before using it in any analyses. It’s always a fun day regardless of the weather as there’s good company, and the work we’re doing is contributing to a cool project.

The day after Rothamsted, we had our annual Christmas party. It was hosted at the Cosy Club, Derby (great food and drink) and I had some great conversations and got to know my colleagues a whole lot better! After the meal, we wandered to the bar area to do our yearly quiz, which was hosted by fellow ecologist, Isabel. I teamed up with Ellis, and we did not do very well, especially at guessing the facts no-one would know about the team – oops! Jim and Courtenay came out victorious. Despite not winning, it was still great fun and I look forward to the next one. The office then closed for Christmas and the end of 2023. It has been a great year for me; I feel like I’ve learned a lot and got all the basics down to a tee.

Going into next year, I need to work on being better with my time management and be more precise in what I do so that I don’t end up doing things twice; I will be a better ecologist for it. To improve in 2024, I will also try and be more proactive and improve my communication skills. During my annual leave in January, I have put myself forward to do a talk at my secondary school and sixth form, St Mary’s, Chesterfield. The talk will be on ecology and degree apprenticeships, and I hope I’m able to inspire some of the Year 12s to consider apprenticeships and possibly a career in ecology. I’ve never done public speaking and it is something that makes me feel anxious just thinking about it. But, I like putting myself outside my comfort zone as it makes me better for it. Hopefully the talk goes well!


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