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An interesting insight into working in JBA’s ecology team – bats, invertebrates, butterflies and irrigation issues!

What are you studying and how do you feel your time at JBA has benefitted you?

I am currently in my final year at the University of Suffolk studying BSc (Hons) Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science. During my time with James Blake Associates Ltd, I have gained a wide range of skills including detailed surveying techniques and key reporting methods and I particularly enjoyed the fascinating species analysis including bat acoustics.
My experience at JBA has been a huge help on honing general business skills too – time management with regards to writing reports and assignments. It has, in turn, really boosted my confidence returning back to university. I feel it has given me a more rounded approach and knowing the importance of planning ahead, being forward-thinking and ensuring I complete my work on time and to a high standard.

What are you particularly passionate about and how has it furthered your career?

I have always had an interest in invertebrates and during my time with Jame Blake Associates, I was enrolled onto a butterfly and moth identification course which allowed me to further study this group. I have also since become a member of the Butterfly Conservation. This has now influenced my dissertation topic where I have been researching bumblebees and butterflies in urban environments. Since my work placement, I would like to rise through the ecology ranks with a keen interest in entomology whilst gaining my bat and great crested newts licenses.

Working with wildlife and my fieldwork experience at JBA was truly fantastic. My binoculars are always to hand as there is always a sight to behold and this job and career path allows me to focus on and appreciate nature at its best.

Did your time with the ecology team enable you to travel?

My work placement has taken me around the UK to places I have never been before. I have been undertaking reptile surveys, preliminary ecological appraisals, and bat surveys and created lots of memories along the way with the awesome ecology team. One of my favourite moments which really made us laugh, was doing bat survey fieldwork with the team next to a golf course without realising we were positioned right in front of the sprinklers which promptly came on and completely drenched us both!

What is it like working in the head office in Suffolk?

The culture at JBA is remarkable: from the moment you walk into the office in the morning, everyone is so kind and you often hear people laughing during the day which creates a lovely work environment. I was able to sit near members of the senior leadership team and everyone was very approachable, warm and friendly. The inhouse collaboration between departments was great and it felt very rewarding to be part of the bigger picture.

Favourite species?

My favourite species in the UK would be the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) or the ladybird spider (Eresus sandaliatus) although I am always happy to see a common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) basking in the sunlight. With the ecology season looming, I would recommend spending time at your local green space looking out for bumblebees, butterflies and maybe a basking common lizard, listening to the chorus of bird songs and waiting until after dusk to see the bats foraging.

Any tips to help combat biodiversity loss?

We are always conscious on how we can help make a difference to combat biodiversity loss. I would recommend to anyone to allow part of your garden to grow out, plant supplementary flowers and connect patches of fragmented habitat.

Thank you Alex.

For more job and work placement opportunities, please contact Kate Berry