Baker Consultants

The Diary of an Ecology Apprentice: Field Notes to Future Plans

From research expeditions to career aspirations, our Ecology Apprentice, Matthew Keough, took away many highlights from February and set his goals for the road ahead. Read the latest entry from his diary of Ecology Apprentice below:

February was a month of planning and progression. The month started with our final trip to Rothamsted Research, where Carlos was accompanied by a reporter and photographer from The Guardian newspaper. In the hour spent with them he was a bioacoustics encyclopaedia, sharing all of the exciting information about the research we are doing. Dr. Jackie Stroud from the University of Warwick team also talked to the reporters about worms and I learnt a few new things from listening in, such as what signs to look for in fields to see if deep burrowing worms are living in it!

Later in the month, my colleague Robin and I conducted a site visit to complete a UKHAB assessment. It was good to get back into the swing of it after the winter and do some condition assessments to rejog the memory, ready for survey season. Back at the office, we recorded all of the species we found and accurately assessed the woodland habitats.

Lastly, I went for a lovely walk along the canal near our office in Cromford to conduct my first appraisal meeting with Jim. We focused on where I want my career to go and what I can do this year to progress towards my goals. I want to be more involved in the planning stage of developments and be able to aid in the design of sites to be better habitats and therefore better for wildlife. To do this, I need to be more involved in the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) stage and start writing some Habitat Management and Monitoring Plans (HMMP). And, of course, I would like to progress my botany. We are looking at getting a FISC assessment, an assessment to determine botany skills, for the whole office, so we can all see where we are at and plan progress.

The deadline for my dissertation proposal was at the end of February, so I also put some time aside for that and tried to make it as punchy as possible. Hopefully my project supervisors approve!

Next month I have a tree climbing course, which I’ll be attending with my colleague, Isabel, which I can’t wait for!


The Baker Consultants team is highly experienced and we are passionate about what we do. If you need advice related to ecology, surveys or conservation, then please get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, or you can call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on