Look at all those Newts!!

First Year Wildlife Conservation student Ella describes her experience on the Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity module.

“My name is Ella Reilly, and I’m a 1st-year Wildlife Conservation student here at Kent.

A ‘newt sandwich’, really?

This term, I’ve had the pleasure of taking the Survey and Monitoring for Biodiversity module, which has given us insight into surveying techniques for various species types. When analysing our data, we’ve also been introduced to the less scary side of statistics. 

First, we learned about bird surveying and how to identify some common species from Dr Jake Bicknell, and then we took our skills out into the field. Despite some early starts, we had great fun spotting different species across varying parts of campus. Next, we headed onto campus and surveyed field, woodland and urban areas, armed with binoculars, ID guides and the help of some knowledgeable PhD students.

Then we had the opportunity to get more hands-on and carry out some small mammal and newt surveys. 

We’re super lucky to have an ongoing Great Crested Newt monitoring project taking place right here on campus and we had a chance to set traps and process the newts ourselves. There are certainly some

unique techniques used for recording newts, including making a ‘newt sandwich’ to view their unique belly markings (no newts are harmed in the process, of course!). 

We also set traps to record small mammals on campus. We got to weigh and release many field mice, a yellow-necked mouse, and a bank vole.

Finally, we wrapped up with a walk around the stunning woodland areas on and around the campus. We learned about tracking large mammals such as badgers, bats and foxes and tried to identify the species living nearby.  

One of the best parts about studying wildlife conservation at Kent is the sheer amount of resources on our doorstep. This module gave us the opportunity to really take advantage of these, get some practical experience and have a lot of fun.”

Ella is a first year in our BSc Wildlife Conservation course, explaining her experiences on the HECO3030 module.

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