By Kit Lawson, GIS Placement Student
As a placement student at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, you are provided with accommodation. There are usually around 6-8 students on placement throughout the year and they are split between two cottages, which are both found on the site of the GWCT.
Firstly, being on the Trust’s land, we encounter a lot of wildlife every day. There is a robin that hasn’t got a good grip on boundaries and as a result keeps flying through the door of one of the cottages. We’ve had to rescue him and let him back outside quite a few times - captured in the first photo. We also get regular visits from deer, pheasants and various songbirds. As well as all of this we have a barn owl that inhabits an owl box nearby. Photos are hard to get as none of this wildlife really seems that open to being photographed and usually they run away as soon as you get within view except for the robin who seems to want to become permanent resident.
The site is very pretty throughout the year, whether it is covered in frost in the middle of winter or warm and sunny in the summer. There is the river Avon that runs through the site and while we have already all been in, I’m hoping that it gets a bit warmer in summer as it’ll be a good way to cool off after work.
The centre of Fordingbridge is only a 5 min walk away from the Trust. This means that you don’t have to venture far in order to find everything you might need for the year. Plus, New Wongs Takeaway’s Chips are some of the best I’ve ever had.
Living with several other students removes the struggle of trying to find people of a similar age to do stuff with when you first arrive which is great.
Being on a site used by various organisations, you very quickly get used to people walking and driving around your house. There are a lot of interesting opportunities during the year, whether they are on or off site. In my short time here, I have already been on bird surveys, hare counts, partridge counts, shoot days and insect trap collection. It means you are quite often on the go but it’s good to take as many opportunities as you can as I want to get the most out of my year here as possible.
Overall, it’s really fun living on site with other students that are interested in Ecology and Conservation as it means that you can talk about and do things that most other people would not find interesting at all. As well, you get to interact with a lot of other people on site and throughout the placement that are experts in their field and so it’s really interesting to pick their brains and find out what they know.