I was studying on the BSc (Hons) Wildlife, Ecology Conservation science degree when I decided to apply for the sustainability micro-placement scheme. I had my interview in late September 2019 and due to some unforeseen circumstances the start of the placement was pushed back to January 2020. Justine was welcoming, bubbly and eliminated any nerves that I had. We were able to have a couple of meetings, brainstorming some ideas before Covid hit and halted my project in its steps. However, Justine has been supportive, informative and has continued to keep me in the loop so when we were able too, the project would be able to continue. The project gained momentum again in September 2020.
My project was to design a wildlife garden on the north campus adjacent to the arts building. The project involved all aspects of planning from research, drawing of my plans and discussing it with Justine and campus maintenance staff, seasonality, budgets, suppliers and lastly actually handing the project over to the UoS wildlife society. The UoS wildlife society have taken my vision and have been able to plant some hedging and trees in the ground this July 2021. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend as I was at work, as I have got a position at the Suffolk Wildlife Trust as a seasonal assistant ecologist.
Through the scheme, I have learnt that there is fair more involved in the planning of projects. The added pressure of Covid and lock downs highlighted the sets backs that could occur whilst planning a project and how you are then required to reapply for funding and how budgets are time sensitive. I am just so grateful for Justine Oakes and the team for giving me the opportunity to get the wheels in motion to begin the project of the wild garden for the campus and I am thrilled that the UoS wildlife society are happy to work alongside Justine and carry on the vision for local wildlife, students and staff to enjoy. I truly believe that the space will be nurtured and will continue to thrive for years to come, and I have had the pleasure of being involved at the very beginning of such a fundamental project.
I feel that students from any degree could apply to be involved within the sustainability micro-placement. You do not need to be on the wildlife course, to gain from this opportunity. Sustainability is such an essential part of our lives and Justine has so many wonderful ideas and projects for the campus, you will be able to find something that will inspire you. However, please approach Justine with your own ideas, she would love to hear them, and you never know, you too could leave the UoS campus a more sustainable environment.