The University of Southampton
Biological SciencesPostgraduate study

Rachel Gardner MRes Wildlife Conservation, 2014

Rachel Gardner's Photo

Following graduating with a BSc Geography degree in 2010 (Durham University), I took a year out in which I travelled to South America and then came to Southampton where I worked in an administrative role in Student Services for 18 months. Having been part of the university as a member of staff, I felt that it would be a great place to continue my planned postgraduate studies in the field of conservation.

We have undertaken a field course to Kenya, and been involved in Marwell’s conservation efforts both in the zoo and at its conservation sites in the UK

The support provided from both staff at the university and at Marwell Wildlife has been of the highest quality. I have also, crucially, been brought together with a group of incredibly like-minded individuals, from a variety of university and employment backgrounds, and who have shared their knowledge and passion to form a strong team who I know I will never lose contact with.

We have been provided with many opportunities which (having looked at a number of other courses within this field) I believe you would be pushed to find elsewhere in the UK, and probably even beyond. So far, we have undertaken a field course to Kenya, and been involved in Marwell's conservation efforts both in the zoo and at its conservation sites in the UK. Now the taught part of the course has reached its end, we are each undertaking our own research projects for the next 8 months, which aim to fill some crucial knowledge gaps in the field. Some of us are going abroad for fieldwork, others are staying in the UK.

We will have ongoing support from supervisors at both the university and Marwell Zoo throughout the remainder of the year however, we are now very much conducting our own independent research.

I will be presenting the results of my findings on the success of reintroduction projects at the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums conference in September; this is a real step-up from an undergraduate dissertation! Having been out of the student world for three years, I have found it incredibly easy to return to a year of very intense, but incredibly rewarding study; both the university and the Marwell have provided us with our own working space for the duration of the course and I feel a part of each of these working communities and plan to make the most of the provisions we have been given over the rest of the year.

I feel that this course is not an entity on its own, but the starting point from which a career should grow, if I ensure I make the most of the knowledge bank and facilities I have access to this year.

MRes Wildlife Conservation
MRes Wildlife Conservation
Like-minded group
Like-minded group
Kenya Field Course
Kenya Field Course
Conservation sites
Conservation sites
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