Guest Blog by Amy Gallagher
Hi, my name is Amy. I’m 20 years old, studying Environmental Management at Queens University Belfast and I’m currently doing a placement with the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership. I’m going to start a blog to keep track of everything I have done and learned during my time here.
I decided to take on this placement as I am extremely passionate about the environment and its conservation. Growing up with a farming background, I was introduced at an early age the importance of preserving our land and the natural beauty that comes along with it. I guess that this is where I first became interested and invested in the environment. Through this placement I am able to gain hands-on experience in the management of designated areas that are at risk of succession or specified as areas of special scientific interest.
Through the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership, I have the opportunity to be involved in some really interesting projects. One of the many being the setting up of the first bee transect at Oxford Island. We also received training in a wide range of skills that are important for conservation; training by Robert Thompson on Dragonflies and Damselflies identification, Botanical skills training with Bob Davidson and performing a tree risk assessment at Gosford Park using GPS mapping technology.
I loved getting to meet so many experts from so many different fields, gaining such an extensive knowledge of plants and animals that I never even knew existed.
Experiencing the wildlife at the different locations around Lough Neagh has made me so much more comfortable around animals, even ones not found at Lough Neagh. I visited South Africa earlier in the summer to build houses as well as working at a crocodile sanctuary and rehabilitation and release program for cheetahs. Thanks to the experience I have gained here, I was opened up to an entire new world of life in a foreign country; I now had the mindset to look past what you see at first and take a closer look at the environment around me.
This placement has really opened my eyes and has helped developed the skills I need for a career in ecology. I can’t wait for the next blog when I’ll tell you all about the new and exciting things that I have done on placement!