Meet Alex Poole, our latest recruit, who joined us late last summer. Here’s his account of how it’s gone so far…
“I first contacted Richard Green Ecology during my Environmental Consultancy Master’s degree at Plymouth University. As part of the degree, we had the opportunity to undertake an 8-week work placement. I was due to start my placement at the beginning of March 2020, however, this was delayed due to the first national lockdown. Fortunately, I stayed in touch with Richard Green Ecology and in August 2020 when lockdown was lifted, I began my placement.
This was an exciting time. During university I had learnt about ecology and the theory of what was required to be an ecologist, but now it was time to put that theory into practice.
Everyone in the team was incredibly helpful and happy to answer any questions that I had as I settled into my new role. The timing of the placement meant that I did not miss out on the bat emergence survey season, which runs May-September, and I was involved in assisting with these surveys straight away. Different bat species produce different sounds, which can be identified down to species or subspecies level using bat analysis software. I was trained in bat sound analysis and this was one of my jobs, along with inputting data into reports. By the end of the placement, I was starting to develop other ecological skills with the support of the senior ecologists, including plant identification, phase 1 habitat surveys, bat and bird surveys.
In October 2020, I was offered a permanent position as an Assistant Ecologist. Since then, I have continued to improve my ecological knowledge, and now conduct my own surveys and draft reports.
The job has been challenging at times, and hours can be long but it is very rewarding, and here at Richard Green Ecology, your wellbeing is valued. I have never felt like I have been asked to do something I am not comfortable with and there is a real togetherness amongst the team. There have also been some incredible learning opportunities since I joined, including lesser horseshoe bat ringing at a couple of local WW2 bunkers and hibernation monitoring of a local site, where we counted over 600 bats of six different species, including greater and lesser horseshoe and the very rare Bechstein’s bat.
I have learnt so much already since joining Richard Green Ecology and have a training plan in place to develop my career. I encourage anyone who is looking for a career in ecological consultancy to apply for one of our current vacancies if relevant to your current level, as you will gain valuable experience to further your career in a rewarding position.”