Postgraduate students on our Aquatic Ecology and Freshwater and Marine Ecology MSc programmes went on a week-long field trip to the Lake District. Two of our students - Kirsty MacLeod and Adrienne Kerley - have blogged about the trip. Find out what they got up to.
From day one of our Windermere trip I was able to delve into the real world of freshwater ecologist - from using ordinance surveys to help gain insight and categorise lake ecology, to driving a boat (yes, driving a real boat, thanks Prof Grey!) over Lake Esthwaite to taking grab samples of the sediment.
For me, gaining hands on experience of these vital skills made this field trip invaluable and I feel has aided me in potentially finding a career in the environmental consultancy sector.
However, this field trip would have only been an inch of the fun if it wasn’t for Dr Chris Eizaguirre, Prof Jon Grey and Dr Ian Sanders. It has been a pleasure to work and get to know them each individually but above all being able to talk to them so comfortably about their careers, gaining advice and even sharing their grapes (thanks Jon!) made this trip so enjoyable.
This module of the FAME MSc (quantitative techniques for surveying and monitoring in ecology) has been my most enjoyable and rewarding yet and has edged me closer on my career path as an aquatic ecologist.
Kirsty MacLeod, FAME MSc student
Whilst the Windermere trip was by far one of my favourite field trips of my scientific education, it may not be for the reasons one might think. Yes, I got to catch pike using a seine net, drive a boat on a beautiful lake and improve my stats skills tenfold, all of which I shall not forget and will endeavour to use throughout my scientific career.
However, the best thing about this field course was the people. All of those on MSc FAME and AER are fascinating, intelligent, lovely people. Whether it was general chit chat or debating fish stocking in rivers, there was not one conversation we had where I did not feel enlightened and more knowledgeable by the end of it.
My trip was made by the presence of Dr Chris Eizaguirre, Dr Ian Sanders and Prof Jon Grey, a nicer bunch of academics I have yet to meet (although my undergrad lecturers were also lovely in case they happen to read this). No question or statement felt silly and their vast cumulative knowledge was second to none!
Hearing about different career paths and telling old stories from years long past over a beer or two will be the main memory that sticks with me. Simply being with likeminded, intelligent people who see the validity in your opinion even though you are not at the same level as them is so refreshing and confidence boosting. I finish my first semester as a masters student with the drive and belief that I am completely on the right track and that it is well within my grasp to achieve my goals.
Adrienne Kerley, FAME MSc student