Student Case Study: Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC)

Name of Student:  Ellyn Baker

Degree Subject:  Biological Sciences

Job Title: Species Monitoring Officer

Company Name:  Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC)

Type of Internship: Access to Internships (A2I) 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

To help oversee the marsh fritillary population restoration project including elements of the captive rearing and the translocation process. This will include working with the Species Officer and CEO to water devil’s-bit scabious plants, replenishing food sources and moving caterpillars to their receptor site. In addition, the role will work with staff and volunteers to supplementary plant devil’s-bit scabious at the receptor site.

To help deliver wildflower meadow restoration within the Amman Valley. This will include helping to collect wildflower seed from donor meadows and broadcasting them on receptor sites in the valley.

To undertake research on two invertebrate species identified on the Rhosydd Bryn-maen SSSI citation at Cefn Garthenor. The species include, Lilljeborg’s whorl snail (Vertigo lilljeborgi) and the oxbow diving beetle (Hydroporus rufifrons). Research will include the species’ ecology and habitat as well as survey methodologies.

Help raise the profile of INCC and the different projects and their outcomes through social media posts, written articles, press releases and other suitable media.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

My biggest achievement was helping with the marsh fritillary reintroduction project. We reintroduced marsh fritillaries to a site where they haven’t been for over 20 years, so it was very rewarding to conduct larval web surveys, which revealed that there is now an established population of breeding butterflies at the site, which was work that I helped to implement. I really enjoyed helping with practical conservation work, the results and benefits of which we already seeing.

Were there any challenges and how did you overcome these?

My main challenge was spending a week on a remote island, helping to build a new bird hide. The physical demands of manual labour was very challenging, however I overcame this by focusing on the task in hand and remembering that it was for a good cause that I am passionate about, so I wanted to help. Also, motivation from other team members, and working as a team also made the work more enjoyable.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Communication
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Problem Solving

Attributes Developed:

  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Motivation

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

My internship experience was very enjoyable, and I had the opportunity to undertake many different and varied tasks. I loved the hands on experience of practical conservation work, and seeing the positive effects that it would bring to local wildlife and people. Working within the industry has allowed me to make many new contacts and learn and develop so many new skills. It was also eye opening and inspiring to see the level of passion and commitment that the other members of the organisation put into their work, so it was great to be able to work with them and learn from them about what it takes to succeed in this industry, and I hope to be able to work with them again in the future.