Careers Event

Alice, from Northumberland Wildlife Trust: “Helen, I’ve had a couple of applications from your students whom I couldn’t interview because they didn’t seem to know how to fill in an application form. Please can I come and talk to them?”
Me: “yes please! Covid year – we did have a session on app forms but it is not the same as when you guys come and meet students”
Theo (former student, Plymouth Council): “Helen the careers event you put on when I was a student was brilliant; it was so helpful for me. Please can I come and talk to your current students?”
Me: “definitely”
Alice: “I’ve got a couple of friends would like to come – ecological consultancy, and greening officer”
Me: “yes – and Georgie, former student, from Defra is also coming”
– Alice passed on valuable tips and tricks regarding how to fill in an application form
– Georgie talked about competency questions
– we had Speed Interviews – 2mins to answer a Q, 2mins for feedback (a bit reminiscent of musical chairs)
– and CV cover letter workshops – where students showed the employers their cover letter examples
– the buzz is evident I hope from the picture of the speed interviews below

Bioblitz – Hepple wilding project

We joined the first Hepple rewilding/wilding project bioblitz looking at “Meg’s purple moorgrass and rushy pastures” (as we now call them). She is doing her dissertation with Marjorie from Natural England, characterising this under-described, under-appreciated (not by Marjorie) northern habitat. Getting our heads around the sedges again: flea, carnation, flaccid, common, tawny, yellow x2, common, brown – think I must have missed one

Meg and I had the tiniest taste of the gin, cos it seemed wrong not to …

… and I just spotted Ho Yin’s clever Twitter handle! His dissertation is on orchids, there were plenty of them too

How to write your Personal Statement for MSc Conservation and Ecosystem Management


I am currently reviewing applications for my degree and some applicants clearly have not been taught how to write these well, so here is my guide:

  • Tell me why you are interested in conservation and ecosystem management e.g. what motivates you to study it, what you have seen or experienced that inspired you (avoid using the word ‘passionate’ if possible because it is cliched but make your passion shine through
  • Tell me a little bit about why you would be a good person for me to accept on my degree, give me examples of how you have been involved in conservation or other work that shows me you are hard working and enthusiastic. I should be beginning to feel like I am getting to know you a little as I find out what you have done and what you think
  • Say what it is about my course that made you choose this one e.g. the module content, the course aims, or things you have seen on my blog
  • And what it is about Newcastle that makes you want to come to live in this relatively small city

To summarise: I want to know that you want to come to Newcastle, that you want to do my particular course, and that you have the motivation to be successful.
I hope this helps. Helen

Our international community

Lisa and I (MSc CEM graduate) did a podcast on what it is like to be an international student with us – and what it is like for me to be teaching international students

It can be found by listened to by clicking the picture below. It is probably most interesting to you if you are an overseas student

Lisa’s talk

Watch Lisa’s talk at the Natural History Society of Northumbria from her MSc Conservation and Ecosystem Management degree. A smashing talk with interesting findings, I think. Link to the talk is below.

Being out with a student on Widdybank Fell, lying in the sun, identifying the plants – after all the Covid restrictions, was one of the highlights of 2021, I think.

Tribute to Tracy Evans

Most of my posts reflect fun things we have done or celebrate student achievements. This is the saddest post I have written; Tracy left this world on 31st October 2021… I am nevertheless also celebrating a student achievement.

Tracy joined the MSc in Conservation and Ecosystem Mangement Course in Jan 2021, a transfer from Museum Studies when she realised she had chosen the wrong degree. She quickly became a valued member of our group, albeit predominantly on zoom, ever ready with an intelligent and engaging contribution in a seminar.

When we were eventually allowed to go out into the field, she was as excited, happy and engaged as we all were – enjoying learning about the habitats, ecosystems, soils, plants, methods … I think that is evident from the photos below

She started on her dissertation, working with the Game and Wildlife Conservancy Trust, dissertation supervisor Dr Dave George and technician Fiona Maclachlan to collect pollinator data from farms through the north of England. Because of her high organisation skills and meticulous approach to data recording and entry, the data are complete and ready to be analysed. High praise received from the GWCT and Dave.

Fiona and I met with her a few weeks ago to heroically work through tea and cake at a wonderful cafe and have a gentle walk along the beautiful beach at Cresswell. Was such a beautiful day, I regret no photo from the beach – but I promise it was Northumberland at its best with sea, sand and dunes!

Tracy was a trooper. I feel so privileged to have shared the last few months of her life. My thoughts are with her family and friends.