A Day in the Life…
By Sherece Thompson, Marine Conservation Officer Kent Wildlife Trust Group (Adonis Blue Environmental Consultants)
For over a year now I have been working for the Kent Wildlife Trust Group. I was lucky enough to become the marine conservation officer after an internship which partnered with The Crown Estate, Vattenfall, Canterbury City Council and of course, the Kent Wildlife Trust Group.
The Coast Explorer Internship is run annually and gives interns a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of working on marine and coastal issues. From carrying out practical surveys, to learning about seabed licensing and leasing, this internship introduced me to some of the different careers in the environmental sector. One of the best things is the flexibility, the internship can be tailored to each individual. The experience I gained during my internship gave me the skills and opportunity to show partners what I was capable of and where my interests lie, ultimately allowing me to progress into a full time role.
Fast forward to today in my role as Marine Conservation Officer, I have a big focus on pursuing and enhancing coastal nature-based solutions. A day in the life doesn’t quite encompass the variety of my role but here are a few projects I’ve been working on in the past year. Currently, Adonis Blue with the Kent Wildlife Trust group are looking at the feasibility of creating and restoring saltmarsh with private landowners; and how this will benefit wildlife and communities through habitat creation and improved flood defenses.
In 2022, we focused our research on a site closer to home at Kent Wildlife Trust’s largest National Nature Reserve, Sandwich and Pegwell Bay. This estuarine site has a mix of saltmarsh habitat and extensive mudflats both of which are hugely important for migrating and wintering birds. We were tasked with understanding the feasibility of introducing seagrass to the site and restoring saltmarsh for flood defense benefits. This project put my newly gained skill from the internship to test as I worked with lots of different partners including local councils, universities, local NGO’s and other Wildlife Trusts.
The Wildlife Trusts have a fantastic marine and coastal network across the country. Our ambition is to restore UK seas- where wildlife thrives from the deepest trenches to the shallowest rock pools. The Living Sea’s team share learnings and experiences to promote best practice and work towards holistic marine conservation around the country. But the Living Sea’s team isn’t just Wildlife Trust Staff but also includes our marine volunteers who tirelessly join us on the shore and take part in citizen since activities.
One key citizen science programme that we carryout is Shoresearch. Shoresearch is The Wildlife Trusts' national citizen science survey of the intertidal shore. This programme actually originated with Kent Wildlife Trust in 2003 and I’m proud to have been involved with continuing the strong history of marine data collection with volunteers in Kent. Shoresearch surveys happen on a monthly basis and empower the local community to take an interest in their rocky shores and encourage budding ecologists and biologists to hone in on species identification. All this benefits local communities while providing valuable data on intertidal areas that can be used to protect wildlife on our shores.
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