Following the completion of my Environmental Science degree from the University of Reading, I was keen to gain experience of working in an environmental field. I decided to apply for a Wildlife Internship (that was advertised through the Reading Internship Scheme), which involved working for the Loddon Catchment Partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Fortunately my application was successful and my internship started with a visit to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s head office in Botley where I met my line manager, Ali Morse, the trust’s water quality and catchment technical specialist. That afternoon, we participated in a website training session for the Loddon Catchment Partnership’s new website which, shortly after, became live. Preceding my official internship start date, I attended a meeting of the partnership’s steering group members which included representatives from the Environment Agency, South East Rivers Trust and Wokingham Borough Council. This allowed me to gain up-to-date knowledge of the activities (and also the organisations) involved in the Loddon Catchment and helped me to understand what was trying to be achieved.
During my internship, I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of tasks I worked on, particularly the work on the website which has involved producing news items, new webpages and the summer newsletter. Following partnership and prioritisation meetings and regular liaison with steering group members, I was able to compile a project list spreadsheet and start composing project briefs (information and details about the projects) and project ‘reviews’ (summarising which and how Water Framework Directive failures would be addressed). I had the opportunity to learn new skills such as using MapInfo Professional (GIS) which I used to produce catchment maps showing the main failures of each Water Framework Directive water body.
Knowing the significance of the work I carried out over the two months was very important to me. This internship has given me the skills and experience of working within a partnership and catchment, which helped me to gain permanent employment.