More about Catherine
After graduating from our MSc Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation postgraduate degree, Catherine is now working as a Conservation Knowledge Intern at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Here's what she had to say about her time at NTU, getting into the conservation sector, and what her current job entails:
What is your current job role and what does it entail?
"I am currently working as a Conservation Knowledge Intern at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. For the last 5 months I have been responsible for conducting some of Durrell's nature connection research. Recent research has shown that increasing your connection with nature not only increases the likelihood of you being more environmentally friendly, but also improves your mental and physical well being.
"Nature connection is now the heart of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, from enclosure designs to educational activities. We are currently trying to gather a base line of nature connection levels in Jersey in order to design more interventions to help improve these levels. This research will then be transferred to all of Durrell's "Rewilding" sites around the world, including India, Madagascar, Mauritius, Brazil and St Lucia.
"Hopefully this will lead to encouraging people in close proximity to some of the most critically endangered animals to change their behaviours and protect their native biodiversity. My contribution to this has been developing the nature connection research in Jersey's secondary schools, which has included designing the questionnaire and visiting the schools to give a presentation during assemblies, surveying adults in and out of the zoo and evaluating if visitors are accessing the nature connection pathways in the new Jersey Zoo butterfly enclosure.
"I have had lots of other varied opportunities at Durrell. I have been conducting additional research in the butterfly house to assess visitors' attitudes towards the enclosure and the animals, including measuring visitor dwell time. I also regularly help out in the education department, including designing and aiding with holiday activities and leading visitor experiences with the animals. And I have also had the opportunity to lecture visiting university groups and Durrell's Desman course at the Durrell academy. I love how varied my days can be!"
How did your time at NTU help you get where you are now?
"In January 2018, I visited Jersey Zoo for the first time with NTU on a course trip. At the time I was struggling to settle on a research project so my course leader had a discussion with the head of research at Durrell and I was then offered the opportunity to conduct my research project with Durrell assessing primary school children's awareness levels of red-billed choughs. During my time at Durrell conducting my research I was then offered the six month internship with the research department. My experience at Durrell has then helped me to gain employment at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo's Summer School, teaching teenagers which I am really looking forward to. If I hadn't had that initial university trip to Jersey Zoo with NTU, I don't think I would be in my position today."
What would be your advice to future students looking to get into the conservation sector?
"My top tip to students would be to get as much experience as possible doing everything and anything, even if it does not seem to be directly related. I used to be a full time teacher and the skills I developed during that role, such as presenting to different age groups, team work, lesson planning and IT skills, have helped to boost me into my conservation career."