Well, that is another birthday over and done with, the majority of my 24th spent writing up dissertation work and searching, in vain, for relevant job opportunities in my local area. Not the most riveting of birthdays, by a long shot, and a day that left me dwelling on what feels to me, like a lack of development of late. Predominantly in terms of my career, but also with regards to new and motivating opportunities. Indeed, as is doubtless the case for many students in the concluding stages of their respective courses, I cannot help but feel that I am stuck in somewhat of a rut at present: trundling on, yet going nowhere particularly fast.
My as yet fruitless search for job opportunities did, however, get me thinking and, as is a tradition on this blog, I thought I would give a quick account of my antics this past year and set out a few goals for the future. If only to boost my own spirits somewhat and give hope that there may, in fact, be light at the end of the current monotonous tunnel.
What have I done since my last birthday? Well, I concluded another season as an ecological field assistant in the Scottish highlands and opted, rather spontaneously, to study a Masters degree in Wildlife Management at Newcastle University. This has been rather good and has taken me to some truly lovely places – not least the Farne Islands where I recently conducted my thesis fieldwork. This course is due to conclude this month, with graduation in December. To tide myself over while studying I have also been working a much more menial job than usual in central Newcastle; while also working part time in marketing for a wildlife tour company. As with last year, I am also busying myself with volunteer work as a Grey Squirrel control volunteer in my local area. Not the most envious of tasks but a vital one.
To tide myself over while studying I have also been working a much more menial job than usual in central Newcastle; while also working part time in marketing for a wildlife tour company. As with last year, I am also busying myself with volunteer work as a Grey Squirrel control volunteer in my local area – not the most envious of tasks but a vital one – and have volunteered, albeit sporadically, with a few other local organisations.
Since last July, I have relinquished my role as a blogger for both Wildlife Articles and Conservation Jobs and moved on, instead, to write a regular column for Northumberland Wildlife Trust; while also contributing to their quarterly magazine: Roebuck. This, in addition to my own website, and sporadic articles elsewhere – including my contribution to a scientific note in the Entomologist’s Record, has helped keep me busy. As of late 2016, I had started to doubt my commitment to blogging, though I am pleased to say that recognition as a finalist at both the Living North Awards 2016, and the Northern Blogger Awards 2017 have sorted that out. Some people clearly enjoy reading what I write, and that is very good to know. Elsewhere, multiple local newspapers and the Countryman have also featured me for various reasons.
Writing, work and education aside, I have also been fundraising for the BTO Curlew Appeal alongside a couple of like-minded friends. Together, we have raised over £2000 for our chosen cause and our Yorkshire Three-Peaks outing is set to take place this month. Earlier this year this resulted in myself and Sacha giving a short speech at the first annual Curlew Conference at Boldon Castle – a day which, all in all, was mighty good fun.
Finally, there is New Nature, a project which requires very little introduction due to my tendency to waffle on about it both on here, and on social media. Establishing the magazine has been a blast and we have seen both our following and readership increase into the thousands in just a few short months. This, however, has not been the most rewarding aspect of the project and, for me, the greatest pleasure has been derived from promoting and supporting the myriad young conservationists who have chosen to write for us over the months. We will, I hope, continue to do this long into the future but for now, have a number of exciting plans lined up for New Nature that, hopefully, we see us take more of a leading role in supporting both young people, and wildlife. Stay tuned.
Having written the above, and remembered a few things that had slipped my mind, it seems that, maybe, I am on track. Or maybe I am not, who knows. What I do know, however, is that the past twelve-months have taken me to some superb places, lead to some fantastic experiences, and provided a few new and exciting opportunities. At present, I do not know where I will be in twelve months time – though I hope that, by then, I will be sitting snugly in a job in either conservation, communications or ecology. For now, perhaps it is best not to dwell, and to keep doing what I am doing. I am sure something will come along…