Intern Alyx first blog describing what she has been doing at GFT
Hi! The new Galloway Fisheries Trust intern here, Alyx Rhodes. Having recently moved up here from Bradford, I am thrilled to be taking on the 6-month internship position. Just a week after finishing my degree in Ecology and Conservation at the University of Lincoln, I am able to bring my growing passion for conservation and knowledge that I have learned and apply it to a more practical and hands-on environment with the chance to further what I know. Despite my main interest being terrestrial insects, particularly moths, I have delved into the world of aquatic life, something I have never had the opportunity to explore before. Getting involved with the many projects at GFT means I get to explore more than just field work. I have been developing important skills such as project planning that I can bring forth in my career!
Starting just over a month ago, I was trained up in electrofishing through the Introductory Electrofishing course within my first week so I am now a qualified part of a team able to safely carry out juvenile salmonid surveys. I have also undertaken a series of presence/absence surveys to detect American Signal crayfish across the Dee catchment. I have also carried out many fish surveys on the Cree and Fleet catchments, and I stayed away on the Annan for a few days surveying their fish stocks. Going to all of these different places gives me the chance to explore even more of Dumfries and Galloway as I can only go to so many places in my free time.
I have also had the opportunity to get involved with the Black Water of Dee gravel introduction project by helping to identify aquatic invertebrates collected in kick samples, as they are a crucial indicator species that reflect the quality of water and habitats present. Gravel was added to the river in order to create spawning grounds for salmonids and better habitat conditions for aquatic invertebrates. Deploying temperature loggers and a sonde to monitor water quality have also been projects I have been able to get involved with. Exploring the effects of acidification on water quality as a result of decimated peatland and poorly designed conifer plantations is not an issue that I am familiar with in England, so this work is providing me with the opportunity to learn about local pressures and solutions.
I would like to offer my deepest gratitude to Galloway Fisheries Trust, Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership and The Holywood Trust for providing this opportunity where not only can I gain workplace experience but also explore a whole new place and way of life!