Thea Eldred rocking the Caribbean

Since leaving Bangor University in 2015 I have been travelling and gaining work experience across 4 continents. In New Zealand I spent a season volunteering as a ranger for the Department of Conservation (DOC). My duties ranged from pest trapping to species monitoring and radio tracking kiwis. Much of this work was conducted in remote places, and I often had to hike up mountains or be dropped off by helicopter for overnight trips in the backcountry.

 

I am currently interning with Fauna & Flora International and local project partner agencies on the Redonda Restoration Programme in Antigua. The aim of this project is to eradicate black rats from Redonda Island, making it a refuge for the frigate birds, tropic birds, boobies and endemic lizards that call this little rock their home.

 

Redonda is surrounded by steep cliffs on all sides, and as a climbing team member my job is to establish and monitor bait grids on this steep terrain. Certain sections of beach around the island can only be accessed by a 150m abseil followed by a half hour swim. The sea here is teeming with life, and we never fail to see several hawksbill turtles.

 

The work is super exciting and rewarding but also challenging. Redonda is remote, uninhabited and has no natural water supply, so everything and everyone must be flown in by helicopter. I am camping here for 2 months with a team of 10 hardworking, intrepid conservationists, and we are loving every hot, dusty, sweat - soaked minute of it!

 

I feel really lucky to be here, but I know that my experiences at Bangor University played an important role in helping me to achieve this position. I chose to study at Bangor because of its diverse choice of modules, its focus on fieldwork, and for its proximity to Snowdonia National Park, where I spent much of my free time hiking and rock climbing.

 

From mammal trapping at Treborth Botanic Gardens, to spending 3 months living on top of a mountain in South Africa, I have had some incredible experiences through Bangor University. These taught me practical skills in research and conservation which were essential for gaining my positions with DOC in New Zealand and here with the Redonda Restoration Programme.

 

The advice I would give to current students at Bangor is to get hands-on and to involve yourself as much as possible. There are so many great clubs and it's easy to volunteer with local charities and conservation groups. You'll have an amazing time but it will also pay off in the long run as you can demonstrate your practical experience and proactive personality to potential employers

 

To anyone who is considering studying at Bangor University, all I can say is it is the best decision I ever made. If you are looking for somewhere with high quality courses, a fantastic location and lots of exciting opportunities for gaining practical experience then I think it is the right choice for you too.