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    Steph Poole dives into conservation

    6 December 2019

    From the Suffolk coast to the Seychelles, fourth year student Steph Poole has dived in to placement and internship opportunities through her BSc Wildlife Conservation with Natural Resource Management degree. Although not from a farming background, Steph has worked hard to actualise her dream of conserving areas of wildlife with practical solutions.

    Steph's journey to Harper Adams was a more unusual one as she only knew she would be arriving on campus two weeks before attending. Having not had the greatest success at A Level, Steph reached out to several universities to seek practical experience that might help her on her way to a future career in the animal sector. However, upon calling Harper Adams, she found our foundation year courses; it was an exciting opportunity for her as she recalls, "it was my one chance to get into university and I seized it."

    Now, four years later, Steph has taken every opportunity in her stride, finding a variety of different jobs to expand her horizons along the way. She commented, "The access course is brilliant. I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to university but now I’m achieving my goals because of the options Harper offered to me."

    In her third year, Steph worked with Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, working on management projects, writing publications, and working with the local council and its charitable counterparts such as the RSPB. Steph spoke about how rewarding the experience was, saying, "From the off I was trusted to develop and manage my own projects. Being with the team for a year meant I could really get involved with projects and lead them in my own way."

    One of the many activities she undertook with Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty revolved around water conservation, removing plastic from the beaches and running a study on the quality of the water. This partly informed her final year project where Steph is assessing plastics in rivers, running tests with a mini manta trawler net, to develop a management proposal to reduce pollutants.

    Such interest in water links into Steph's love of marine conservation. As a summer internship, she flew out to the Seychelles to dive and learn about the marine wildlife with GVI, a volunteering project organiser. She spoke about her experience and what she was able to achieve explaining, "I had to learn fifty two species of Indo-Pacific commercial fish, and got to run coral beach and turtle surveys which enhanced my identification skills. It was an amazing time and I managed to complete seventy six dives in three months."


    Now as an ambassador for GVI, Steph is reaching out to find volunteers for the internship she undertook. "Diving is always seen as a man's world," she explained, "but with GVI I want to challenge that. It's a great opportunity to learn and explore - it's made me really keen to complete one hundred dives by the end of 2020. I'm also heading out to Mexico to continue marine conservation as soon as possible."


    In the New Year, Steph will be available to answer questions and offer resources on how you can get involved with GVI and enhance your degree knowledge with practical experience. For more information on placement opportunities with Harper Adams, please click here.



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