Abigail Leach, Conservation Intern, 2015–2016

12 July 2016, Comments 0

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“I joined A Rocha UK as the Conservation Intern in June 2015, I was looking to enhance my skills and get some work experience before going on to study for a masters in Conservation Science and Policy at Exeter. The internship has really helped me develop my field skills. A key part of my role over the survey season is to collect data on butterfly and bumblebee populations at Minet Country Park and more recently at Wolf Fields. Through the internship I have had the opportunity to get involved in bird ringing with local ringers, small mammal survey with the London Wildlife Trust and bat survey and training with a London based consultancy. I also work with a local community member to carry out ZSL’s River Monitoring Initiative surveys once a month – this involves waders and a pond net and a keen eye for tiny freshwater invertebrates.”

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“Besides the field experience I have gained, I have also been able to work closely with local community members on the Wolf Fields project in Southall which has been really enjoyable and I have met some amazing people. My role at Wolf Fields is to project manage the aspects of the community garden that relate to conservation. This has included organising the planting of a community orchard in February 2015 and beginning to create a wildlife pond. I have also been responsible for sourcing a shipping container for secure storage and getting this into place! Taking on the project management of these developments was daunting at first but I found that it was really rewarding experience. The internship has also allowed me to develop my interest in environmental policy, I have had the opportunity to write briefing notes on policy changes and produce a large report about the UK Overseas Territories. I have also had the opportunity to attend meetings and workshops, such as the Wildlife and Countryside Link EU Referendum Workshop which was a really amazing experience.”

“Whilst interning at A Rocha I have lived in the Southall Centre with other resident staff and Karolin who is the Education Intern. Living in community is challenging at times but overall has been really fun. We have a communal meal on Monday evening, everyone is on the Monday cooking rota at least once a month, we certainly get some interesting dinners. Southall itself is also an experience, it is like a flavour of India on the edge of London. I started at A Rocha in the middle of mango season so all the shops along the Broadway had boxes of mangoes stacked outside their doors. There is much debate at the centre as to whether Pakistani or Indian mangoes are the superior mangoes!”

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