Working as an Ecologist: Top Tips and Perks of the Job

 

Elaine Anderson,  Ecologist with Echoes Ecology Ltd fills us in on the perks of the job and top tips she has for those wanting to go into a similar area. Another great read for #ECOweek17

Perks of the Job

Life as an ecologist can be quite challenging with long, often unsociable hours throughout the busy summer season and often having to work away from home.  I love my job so these things are out-weighed, in my opinion, by the things that are great it.  I actually really like working away from home as I get to discover new places throughout Scotland and meet new people.  It often involves working with people from many different sectors and therefore we learn about the work that other sectors do, particularly within the construction industry.

I work for a small ecological consultancy called Echoes Ecology Ltd based in Polmont and it’s a really great team of people who are all passionate about wildlife and conservation.  Our main role is to help our clients, as much as is possible, avoid damaging the environment and to ensure that legally protected birds, animals and habitats are safe from whatever project they are undertaking.  I love being part of this and often as a licensed bat worker I come face to face with bats which is amazing!  It’s not often in this area of conservation that you actually see the animal you are trying to protect, its normally just field signs that we find, which is still pretty special.  This job allows me to develop my skills in surveying, report writing and communication and in project management with a great mix of field and office work which is another perk of the job – not being stuck in an office all day is fine by me.

 

Top tips

There are a few things to think about if you want to get into a career as an ecologist and these are the ones I think are most important:

  • Network!!! – Speak to as many people in the profession as possible, find out what they have done and ask for their opinions and help. There are many different routes into this career and most people you speak to will remember how daunting it can be to get your foot in the door. Most people you speak to will want to help a driven and enthusiastic person just starting out. It’s a relatively small world and you will come across the same people again and again throughout your career, with a lot of jobs filled through word of mouth and speculative applications, so talking to people is invaluable.
  • Volunteer with local wildlife or conservation groups to gain skills/ go for seasonal /part-time positions or internships whilst you’re at university to, these are great ways of getting to know more about different roles and meeting people who can give you advice or support.
  • Really think about what you enjoy doing and try to go for roles that involve at least some of these things. You spend a lot of time at work and it can be long unsociable hours so you really need to be passionate about what you do to be able to stay happy in your job.

 

Find out more about working as an Ecologist here:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/careers/your-future/options/occupations/environment-and-energy/protection-conservation

 

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