Hi there. I’m Lorna and I’m on an exciting 8-week student placement with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (LWT). The role of Assistant Conservation Officer was kindly funded by the University of Lincoln to allow their students to gain new skills in their respective relevant workplace and build on current knowledge taught during our time with the university.
So, a bit about me – I have recently completed my first year at the University of Lincoln studying Ecology and Conservation and have a background of volunteering with various conservation organisations in my spare time, including the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts. Conservation is a passion of mine, and I’ve met so many wonderful people through volunteering - knee deep in peat bogs, in driving rain and bitter winds!
During the recent pandemic, as a new university student, it has been particularly difficult to get out and consolidate any of our newly learnt knowledge by looking at specimens in the field or undertaking surveys. So, when I saw the opportunity for a placement with LWT I quickly jumped at the opportunity and started my application.
I have applied for more placements and short-term jobs in the sector than I would like to admit in the last few years, so when I say I didn’t envisage being successful, I am completely and utterly truthful. I have learnt, whilst chasing my career in the environmental sector, that it is probably one of the most difficult sectors to enter. So, when Tammy Smalley, the Head of Conservation (and my new overseer!) at LWT gave me a call and broke the news to me, I was quite simply, ecstatic!
My first task was to assist with some writing for the Love Lincs Plants project. I’ve been helping to draft a piece of writing relating a (particularly complex) hybrid fleabane (Erigeron) specimen to the role in our lives and the person who collected it. The particular specimen was collected by Kevin Widdowson, who worked as the Education and Community Officer for the LoveLincsPlant team.
I’ve met Kevin previously whilst out on a field trip with the university and he enlightened us on various plants we saw throughout the Lincolnshire Limewoods, and also gave me lots of help and advice on improving my botany skills. So, needless to say, I am more than happy to help write up information on the scarce specimen he collected, as a thankyou for kick-starting my botany-filled future!
Most of my time here so far however has been spent with Jeremy Fraser, the Wildlife Sites Officer, assisting on many botanical surveys along streams and drains in Lincolnshire. Already in my first two weeks I have learnt a huge amount – I think my brain has even expanded to make room for all this new knowledge!
I’m so excited to dive deeper into my placement and continue to learn from experts in their field.