Our first few days at Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Mark Shofield

Welcome to the opening 2019 blog from Open University (OU) students, Catherine Watson and Simon Winter.

We’re both privileged to be OU alumni and interns of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (LWT). It’s worth highlighting that OU students have considerable personal commitments and that’s before studying! We frequently commit ourselves for 16 – 32 hours per week during a 30 week period. Consequently, we’re left with very little time for vital work experience to complement our academic efforts.

Fortunately, once again, a joint collaboration between the OU, LWT and Santander has created the unique opportunity of a 10-week work placement. Previous OU interns Lucy Lovell and Doug Smith set the standard for us to achieve. We intend to do ourselves, our university and partner organisations proud.

Catherine Watson OU Student

Catherine Watson

Hi, Catherine here. I spent 5 years studying with the OU graduating last September with a BSc Hons Natural Sciences degree with a biology focus. After finishing my A-levels the thought of going to a ‘red-brick’ university didn’t appeal to me so I got a job in the food industry. After a year I decided that a degree was the next step but the benefit of studying with the OU meant I could continue to get some form of experience in the work place. The added benefit was that I could save up to do a 6-month internship in South Africa which I completed at the end of my studies. After 6 months of working and living on a Big 5 game reserve, I am ready to explore this next chapter in my career development.

Simon Winter OU Student

Simon Winter

Hi, Simon here. I graduated from the OU in October 2016 with an ICT themed BSc Open degree. My employment history includes the military, IT support and currently the retail sector. I’m also a keen volunteer with LWT. In February 2018 I committed to a BA Hons in Environmental Studies. I’m intending to graduate in October 2023, assuming life doesn’t get in the way! My career goal is to work in the environmental sector – exact role TBC. I’m aiming to fully explore the unique and diverse opportunities presented by what many describe as ‘the best job in the world’.

During our first few days here at LWT we have been given a whirlwind of information which we hope we have retained at least some of. Over this 10-week period we have been given a series of tasks to complete.

One of the major projects being done currently with LWT is the Love Lincs Plants project which we will be involved with. This will entail collecting plant specimens from across Lincolnshire, pressing, drying and mounting them ready to be kept in local records as well as sent down to the Natural History Museum in London.

We have also been tasked with designing and implementing two example garden beds on the grounds here at HQ on how best to work with and make the most of different soil types to attract wildlife in your gardens.

In addition to these we have been asked to research and collect samples of some Inspirational Plants which has already proved to be very interesting and write an article for the Lapwings magazine later in the year. Over the coming weeks we shall share our experiences here including the various activities we have been asked to partake in such as surveys and conferences.