Post by Andrew Barrett, BSc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation (CIEEM Accredited)
On the 21st and 22nd of November 2017 I was in Manchester at the annual Autumn conference of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Managers (CIEEM). The theme and title of the conference was: Mitigation Monitoring and Effectiveness.
This conference, and the ones I have been to before, was an extremely positive experience and beneficial in my professional development. CIEEM conferences cover the latest and most pressing topics of our industry, bringing forward new technology, science, policy and reviewing it openly and honestly.
It was a packed two days with 9 sessions each day. Topics of the talks included a novel approach to reptile mitigation, a review of the Great Crested Newt mitigation on the HS2 project and an introduction to a new bat competency licensing system. My favourite talk was by Dr Johnny Birks on Pine Martens in Scotland and the use of artificial nest boxes to supplement tree top cavities which they use as dens.
Conferences such as this are great opportunities for networking and socialising, catching up with old acquaintances and meeting new people; students and industry professionals alike. As a result of attending, I have the opportunity to do some thermal camera surveys on a heathland, I learnt of training courses in Ireland that I might attend and have been advised about potential masters degrees.
Through being a member of learned societies, I was selected to go on the British Ecological Society (BES) Summer School in my first year at HAU. From this I have become more involved in the BES and I am now part of the team organising the next annual BES Undergraduate Career Conference (BESUGCC). At this CIEEM conference I was introduced to a speaker whom I have heard many times but have yet to meet, Dr Fiona Mathews, Chair of the Mammal Society and a lecturer at Sussex University doing research on bats. This introduction enabled me to request that she be a speaker at BESUGCC in 2018.
I got all this: a 2-day conference, a great (and successful) opportunity to network and a number of doors opened to me, FOR FREE! Normally student places are £60 but CIEEM offer 10 free places to each of their conferences through a prize draw.
This is one of the biggest benefits to being a CIEEM student member. HAU’s Wildlife Conservation course has CIEEM accreditation; this means we get cheaper Student Membership and the accreditation is a recognised stamp of approval of the course content.
HAU’s competitive mentality to remain a leading institution, working with the latest information at the cutting edge of environmental science, connecting with industry and the compulsory placement year I feel are the primary reasons HAU is the best university in our sector.
CIEEM Conferences and other connections I’ve been able to make whilst at Harper have helped me develop my professional presence and my career aspirations and I have been supported to pursue them.