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Higher Education Placements

Earth Trust Placements

Field work

The Earth Trust supports Higher Education students to further their professional skills base. We recognise the need for students to gain hands on work experience to complement their College or University studies and boost their employability prospects.

We offer flexible placements ranging from a few days to three months or more; the duration and frequency is fully negotiable. Current students range from three days a week to once a month.

Find out more

We are currently at capacity and, unfortunately, can not accept any new applications. Please check back another time to see if places have become available.

Here's what some of our past placements students have said:

Kirsty Mack
Kirsty Mack,
February - July 2016

"Volunteering my time at the Earth Trust has been a perk of each week! The diversity of research projects you can dive into has been a massive draw, as well as the network of opportunities with different people that work alongside the Earth Trust. My time has included: trialling a brand new Phase One Habitat Survey App developed by Oxford Brookes University; surveying parts of the site for squirrel damage on trees; data entry; a GIS refresher course and application; butterfly transect surveys; and I am also really looking forward to the upcoming hedgerow surveys too. The Trust is brimming with projects and ideas, there really is something for every interest and if it's not currently on the agenda, they are open to research proposals too. 

Aside from the work, the ethos is also fantastic. The people I have worked alongside are just as diverse and wonderful as the research projects to involve yourself in. I have felt almost part of a little family - a family who always have cake and fresh bread on the table! There is always someone to talk to at lunch and share your experience with, the team have always been interested in what I have spent my day doing and I have felt a valued member of such an inclusive team :) "

Hannah Collier
February - September 2016

“I started at the Earth Trust after completing an MSc in Wild Animal Biology; I had gained knowledge but felt that I lacked real world experience. The Earth Trust provided me with an opportunity to build up my experiences; I started by developing and carrying out a population survey for the brown hare on site, seeing it through from start to finish was extremely rewarding and allowed me to apply the skills I developed at university. I have also been trained in QGIS which is an invaluable skill for an aspiring ecologist and I now feel confident enough to use QGIS for a variety of projects.

During my time here I have been lucky enough to observe bird ringing, been taught how to carry out butterfly transects and participated in some practical conservation with other volunteers. I have met a wide range of likeminded, interesting people and have gained the confidence and experience I need to pursue a career in ecology. The Earth trust offers a wide range of opportunities for their volunteers; it is an encouraging environment to work in for students and graduates looking for experience and their next step.” 

Abigail Motley
September-October 2015

“Working at the Earth Trust was the highlight of my summer following graduation! I studied biological sciences at the University of Oxford, where I developed my lifelong passion for ecology and conservation. When I left Oxford I was very unsure as to whether I wanted to pursue an academic research career. My six-week research placement with the Earth Trust gave me a “taster” of designing and carrying out my own research project outside the remit of my degree. I studied the deer populations in Little Wittenham Wood. Deer overgrazing of woodlands is a huge problem facing conservation in the UK, as the high population densities of deer have been shown to negatively impact on woodland regeneration. I developed a methodology of surveying the population density and grazing behaviour of deer that would enable rigorous quantitative analysis. My research was merely a preliminary study, with plenty of room for improvement and further study, but my initial models indicated the tree species and age classes preferred by deer for grazing, enabling targeted management for the protection of such species in Little Wittenham Wood. 

During my time at the Earth Trust, I truly felt like I became part of the family. Everyone was extremely friendly and approachable and were happy to help with any queries I had. I was also offered the opportunity to go bird ringing, a truly magical experience, and learn more about forest ecology in general, which is an area I am particularly interested in.  

I would highly recommend a placement at the Earth Trust, particularly if you are close to graduating and aren’t sure if research is a career you would like to pursue. Following my placement, I applied for the NERC Environmental Doctoral Programme at Oxford and was awarded a place; I started my PhD/DPhil in September 2016! My time at the Earth Trust and the mentoring from Kerry were a huge inspiration in embarking on this next stage of my career. Thank you Earth Trust!"

Keiran Pope
Keiran Pope
1 month placement, summer 2015

“I undertook a HE work placement at the Earth Trust during the summer of 2015. I am a student studying meteorology and climate at Reading University and I had just finished my first year; I was looking for a summer placement to give me something productive to do during the holidays and I saw the Earth Trust had a series of great placements and volunteering schemes. They give anyone a chance to improve key skills for their CV which link with the Trust’s core work. Wanting to go into research once I graduate, I felt I needed some extra experience in research to potentially help secure a future job.

I enjoy spending time outside and so I was given the task of monitoring squirrel damage in Paradise Wood. I researched and carried out a method for monitoring grey squirrel damage which involved identifying the species of damaged trees, measuring the damage, collecting the data, analysing it and writing a report on the findings. I also helped to test a new app which helps create a phase one habitat survey for an area; for about a week I went out and produced a phase one habitat survey for the entire 1200-acre site. Occasionally, if I had some spare time and the weather permitted, I would join Mike Rogers and his team ringing birds by one of the ponds in Little Wittenham Wood. It’s not every day you hold a kingfisher in your hands before letting him go!

I really enjoyed my placement at the Earth Trust. It’s very well organised, the staff are all very friendly and helped me to settle in quickly. I feel I’ve gained valuable experience and skills which have already aided my studies and will certainly be of value in any future career.”
Marine Razoux
Marine Razoux
May - July 2015

"I came to the Earth Trust for eight weeks to gain experience at the end of my Bachelor degree. I am a French student from the Catholic University of Lille, studying environmental sciences. I heard about the Earth Trust and I wanted to come and work in a different country to experience a different working environment. I was also interested in the projects the Trust was running and I wanted more experience in the field of ecology.

My main focus during the placement was studying the ecological impacts of pig farming on farmland woodlands. I was working with one of the Earth Trust’s Farm Step tenants Mark Cooper, an Oxford Sandy and Black pig farmer, and supervised by Dr Kerry Lock. I looked at the potential benefits and consequences of the breeding pigs being present within the Earth Trust’s woodlands. I had the chance to build a pilot study on this subject with the help of several experts who shared their knowledge with me out in the field.

Whilst there I also had the opportunity to go out on sessions to learn more about the Earth Trust's other work, such as forestry research with Dr Jo Clark, discovering the biodiversity of the meadows, or even to follow a hedgerow survey training session with Dr Kerry Lock. I also went out bird ringing with Mike Rogers who is incredibly passionate about what he does; he shared many stories and taught me many things on birds.

Because I had requested a mixed experience of research and practical conservation, one or two days a week I also experienced practical conservation tasks alongside Steven Wrigley, one of the wardens, assisting fencing tasks, wardening walks and sapling protection.

The time I spent with the Earth Trust was constructive, I learned many things but it also lead to incredible memories of beautiful landscapes and working with a great team. I will always remember my placement at the Earth Trust for all it's brought me and all the people I have come across."