Following the introduction of our ‘Meet the Team‘ page comes our mini blog series. Hear personally from our team members about their roles at EcoNorth and more. This week, meet Henry Barrett, Ecology Intern.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Hertfordshire but have always enjoyed moving around and taking on new adventures. I attended the University of Birmingham to study Environmental Science, during which time I focused on ecology and conservation. I spent my third year working in New Zealand at The National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA). The paper I co-authored whilst working there is now published in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, which is very exciting! After four years with the University of Birmingham, I began a part-time PGCert in Ecological Survey Techniques with the University of Oxford, which is ongoing, and spent six months volunteering with the RSPB in Exminster, Devon.
I’m a keen rock climber and try to visit the local bouldering centre at least once or twice a week. I also enjoy running, white-water kayaking, playing guitar and cooking. I’m currently training for my first trail marathon in the Pennines this April. You could say I’m a bit of a hobbyist!
Summarise your role at EcoNorth
I’ve recently taken up a position at EcoNorth as an Ecology Intern. This has seen me assisting with report writing, carrying out preliminary ecological appraisal surveys and generally supporting the team in any way I can. I’m really excited to be working with such a great team and so far it has been fantastic.
What got you into Ecology?
I was largely raised on David Attenborough documentaries as a child and as a result have always been interested in the world around me. I was always in the woods with the dog or up a tree somewhere (perhaps that’s where the rock climbing started too!). As I grew older I began to show an interest in biology and geography at school, meanwhile pursuing outdoor sports in my free time. A keen interest in the environment has led me to my chosen career path and I’m looking forward to expanding on my experiences in the world of ecology.
What do you most like about working as an Ecologist Consultant?
For me, it’s all about the fieldwork. I love seeing new places and being outdoors. I also enjoy having a varied workload and being challenged with different types of project – mixing things up and regularly learning new skills makes each day interesting.
Describe the project you have worked on that you are proudest of. What did you do that worked out particularly well?
Having worked at EcoNorth for only a very short time, I haven’t seen many projects from start to finish. However, being involved with a number of ongoing pieces of work has been very satisfying – especially seeing reports go out to happy clients!
What do you see for the future?
I’m keen to obtain some species-specific licenses, especially for great-crested newts (I’ve always loved reptiles and amphibians and actually had a pet bearded dragon many years when I lived in Hertfordshire). I’m looking forward to developing into a skilled Ecologist, which I will achieve by getting more experience in the field and by taking on more project-based responsibilities. More generally, I’m looking forward to getting more experience by continuing to work here at EcoNorth with a highly skilled team of Ecologists and by finishing my PGCert with the University of Oxford.
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone starting out?
If I could give some advice to someone starting out in ecology, or indeed a younger version of myself, I would recommend gaining some volunteer survey experience as early as possible. It is difficult to squeeze it in while studying at university (especially if you’re working as a dishwasher between terms as I was). However, it’s absolutely worth the effort and will give you an edge in a competitive job market.