Missed their graduation – but was their for their presentations!

Was feeling sad to have missed their graduation, but found a photo of Julia Cooper’s (back right) Sustainable Agriculture and Agriculture and the Environment MSc Students that I thought was worth posting. Coming from all around the world with so many different experiences and stories to tell – such an inspiring and humbling group of students. I’m so pleased to be able to share their journey a little – to help with their dissertation design and stats when asked – and I always love seeing their presentations at the end of their time with us.

Proud to be SFHEA

Very pleased to have achieved Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Very grateful for the support from former line managers, Drs Andrew Beard and Liz Stockdale and current line manager, Prof Mark Whittingham – and from Head of School, Prof Rob Edwards. I do not take for granted how brilliant it is to have line managers I trust, can talk to and share a joke and a even a tear with.

IUCN Conference Posters from MSc dissertations

Two MSc Biodiversity, Conservation and Ecosystem Management students, Phil and Elizabeth, worked with Alistair at the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to produce posters that were accepted at the IUCN conference in Belfast this year. (Yes I am just catching up with my posts!) Great to chat to Natural England delegates who said, “These are great. Simple to read. Uncluttered. Clear message. Providing empirical evidence to answer important questions” This is my aim for student projects. See the posters below.

An action shot from a computer lab

Just wanted to acknowledge Hannah who has been demonstrating for maybe 3 years with me now. She is knowledgeable, intelligent, confident, creative and in this case teaching some stuff on R to the Msc students – yes because she can do stuff I can’t. And this is Liam too, he is starting his PhD so I’m hoping he can fill Hannah’s boots when she completes. I reckon, judging by his few sessions this year, he will be able to.

Masters students present at the Sill

So pleased to collaborate with Abi Mansley of the NorthumberlandNational Park Authority. For a few years now she has worked with a number of our students on projects looking at cattle movement, sitka spruce invasion, vegetation change, bog restoration providing first class guidance and supervision for them.

Tom has worked out where the sheep and cattle graze and why – contributing to understanding about cattle behaviour
Jess has pulled together 3years worth of vegetation data to determine whether flailing Molinia attracts cattle away from the raised bogs and improves quality. Wwe think it does …

They also offer student volunteer placements in the Park, particularly with the wonderful, inspiring naturalist Shaun Hackett who has offered fungi, pollinator and oooh – lichen placements.

You might remember Ian Coles who produced my favourite ever photograph of the golden plover chick while on the bird ID course (see earlier blog). Turns out he can not only snap tiny things that are miles away but also tiny things that are close up. My photos of his photos don’t do justice to the incredible detail on these pictures. Thanks Ian for sharing. Oh – he did the pollinator placement with Shaun

Happy Christmas

My fascination and love for lichens has at last blossomed and became useful thanks to the excellent guidance of Janet Simkin. She did not ‘make’ me bring this fallen branch into a loving home, but I think she was as happy to have these specimens of lichens of the unpolluted Sidwood as I am. You can see I have found a use for it as a beautiful Christmas tree. No need for gold spray or sparking tinsel. It is all there.

Bryoria, Hypogymnia, Usnea, Plasmatia

My dining room table

One of the best things about being a botanist is when you have time and space to get the microscopes out and immerse yourself in the microscopic detail and the beauty of the species. The Sphagna are beautiful and fascinating – see the picture of S.magellanicum (no longer called that but S.medium is such a dull name in comparison) below. Soon I am going to have to clear the dining room table for visitors and to make an effort for Christmas – but it is good to have it there ready.

Graduation MSc Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Mangagement

So disappointed to miss graduation this year. A truly inspiring group of students from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Everyone putting in so much time, enthusiasm and dedication to get to where they are. At least Janet made it. I’m not going to say I’ll miss you, cos I know you will stay in touch.

If I had to put odds on the person most likely to have a glass of wine in his hand, would’ve been you, Chris!

News from China

Former MSc student, Emily just got in touch to say Happy Christmas and she sent this lovely message: “Last week, my Newcastle University course mates came to China, and we had a reunion. I also attached the pictures. We talked about the life when we were in the UK and we talked about you as well. Thank you so much for helping me understand and encouraging me when I was struggling with my study. You are always so nice and patient.”

Emily, it was such a pleasure having you on our course, you worked so hard and did so well. Thank you for getting in touch.

We love to have students from China. It can be tough but rewarding and we do all we can to support you in your studies to help the transition from China to the UK. Make sure you get as good as you can at English before you come, and get in touch with me beforehand if you have any questions.

Sidwood day out

Ellie and Ray enthralled by the lichens
Slime mould

Had an amazing day out with last years’ and this years’ BCEM in the woods looking at anything and everything. This is voluntary and just for fun for anyone from Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Management this year, last year – from Ecological Consultancy or from Environmental Science Masters