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Beaver research with Chloe Howard

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11 December 2019

One of the best things about university is finding a true passion through study. Whether that be designing a new piece of technology or discovering different data about a certain breed, your course is the chance to find out what you love and explore that subject fully.

For Chloe Howard, she discovered her interests as early as first year which has subsequently led her on the path to her final year Honours Research Project. She spoke about her particular curiosity with water quality saying, "I was always interested in water and the ways we can protect clean supplies. I spent my placement year with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, sampling invertebrates and monitoring water quality. It was a great experience and I still volunteer for them now.

"I discovered through my degree that I also really enjoy ecology but I also love animals. I knew I wanted to combine all my interests in my final year project to make it something I would be passionate about."

With this in mind, Chloe is researching beavers for her final project, combining her enthusiasm for animals, ecology and water quality all into one area of study. Working on the Spains Hall Estate in Essex, Chloe is working to identify whether a beaver enclosure is a better natural flood management system than employing technology in the river. Her overall aim is to see if the beavers improve water quality, sampled through invertebrates, to see if this kind of flood management could be instated worldwide.

So far, Chloe is enjoying her Honours Research Project, developing connections between the theory taught in the classroom to the work she is now undertaking out in the field. While her biggest challenge is currently the distance to the site, she is still enthusiastic, commenting, "It's hard work but it's great to do something practical and see the results come to light."

Chloe is an advocate for her studies, giving advice to future students looking to undertake the new BSc Environmental Land Management degree course. She says, "Read plenty of books, even fictional ones. They can give you ideas and inspire new points of view.

"Equally, look at the world more in depth by sampling different invertebrate and building on the skills you will develop over time in your degree. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to work towards your area of interest at Harper."

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