Friday, 8 March 2019

Introducing some of the Reserve's women in science

Prompted by International Women's Day, we sat down to chat to some of the Reserve's team. In recent years, numbers of women in science and conservation have hugely increased and women work in a number of roles in Natural England and at Lindisfarne NNR. We spoke to Lucy May, Catherine Scott, Elaine Young, Katherine Dunsford and Ceris Aston about what made them love science.

What do you do?

Lucy: I am a Marine Lead Advisor, Responsible Officer for Lindisfarne SSSI.
Catherine: I am the local fisheries lead and monitoring and evidence lead, so I get to come to Lindisfarne because it is a multidesignated site and a jewel on the north east coast which needs to be protected for future generations.
Elaine: My role is Senior Marine Advisor, so I oversee the delivery of all the marine work in Northumbria. 
Katherine: I am the Reserve’s Winter Warden, surveying non-native species on the Reserve and leading volunteer and school events.
Ceris: I’m an apprentice – so a bit of everything, with a mixture of admin, habitat management, events and outreach, and biological monitoring.

What first inspired a love of science/ conservation?

Lucy: Someone gave me a microscope for Christmas when I was about ten years old and I had to look at everything through a microscope, so when my brother got nits…
I then moved on to bigger things.
Catherine: Rockpooling with my dad from ages 2 - current. There was always something new and magic- every rock was like Christmas; you turn over a boulder and it’s like a Christmas present.
Elaine: For me it was through my passion for travelling – the more I travelled the more I realised my passion for science and conservation, which inspired me to follow a career in conservation.
Katherine: I grew up on the Northumberland coast and spent a lot of my childhood on the beach. It made me fall in love with the coast.
Ceris: I did a project on Scottish Wildlife when I was about nine… where all my classmates submitted about ten pages, I handed in a bulky folder. I did my research!

Catherine and Katherine explore rock pools

What did you study?

Lucy: I did Conservation, Biology and Ecology at Exeter University in Cornwall, then had a beach bum life for a few years, then went to Bangor and did Marine Biology.
Catherine: HND in Applied Biology, then a BSc in Marine Biology, and then a PhD in Marine Ecology focusing on Arctic Marine Ecosystems and the population community ecology between the ice system and the pelagic system.
Elaine: I have an MSc in Environmental Management from Stirling University – I thought at the time Marine was too focused and was looking at the bigger picture. 
Katherine: A BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography.
Ceris: A bit different… I did an MA in Liberal Arts (Philosophy). After several years in journalism, publishing and the women’s sector I changed career. I've almost completed my Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Environmental Conservation.

Catherine and Lucy

What do love most about your job?

Lucy: I love the fact that every day is different and I get to work outside. And I like diving – it’s as close as you can get to being a fish.
Catherine: The people and being outside, categorically.
Elaine: I feel really lucky because it’s so varied and it is obviously something that I am passionate about. I feel like I can really make a difference.
Katherine: I love how varied it is. I get to be outside and constantly learn new things.
Ceris: I love being outside and learning, and feeling as though I can make a bit of a difference in protecting the natural world.

Catherine exploring

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