Work Experience At CEH

Over the last week I have been doing Work Experience at The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.  I really enjoyed working here and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

Day one

Arriving at The Center for Ecology and Hydrology for my first day of a weeks work experience was nerve racking, but Monika put me straight at ease.

Our job for the day was to collect water samples from the River Thames and its tributaries, as part of Monika’s on going studies in to pollution.

She is particularly interested in the chemicals that are used during sewage treatment and chemicals that mimic hormones, and their effect on fish.

My main task was to throw a bucket, attached to a rope, in to the middle of the river, then pull it back in full of water. Making sure the water in the bucket didn’t contain bits of vegetation or mud, which if it did I had to repeat it.

This wasn’t as easy as it sounds due to the current.

Once the water samples had been collected, we walked back to the vehicle where we filtered some of the water in to bottles to take back to the lab.

It was really interesting work despite there being snow on the ground and an extremely bitter wind.

Water Testing


Day Two

During day two, I was set with the task to go through hours of film footage of a Kestrel nest box.

But to start off with I was invited to spend the morning listening to many talks on Bumble Bees and how some species vary up and down the country.

These talks were extremely interesting especially as to find out that a certain species of Bee was found half way up Mt Everest.

Once the talks had finished I headed up to start analyzing the Kestrel footage.

My job was to through the footage and make note of all the prey that both Kestrel’s brought back to the nest. Each time I saw prey being brought to the nest box, I stopped the footage, I had to identify the prey, then make a note of the date and time.

Their main diet was Voles and Mice, however the parents brought in a couple of species of birds such as a Blue tit and two Blackbird Chicks.

Marc  Botham was overlooking what I was doing and helped me to identify some of the Kestrels prey.

Even though I spent most of the day inside, it was really interesting to learn about Kestrel’s diet and how to record data.

Day Three And Four

Day Three and Four I was asked to meet up with Lindsey Newbold who is a Molecular Microbial Ecologist currently working on an project called the National Bee Archive

After Lindsey had given me a safety talk and explained what I would be doing, I entered the lab.

I began almost straight away by moving crates full of honey, which were going to be sorted through. Once that was finished we began testing for pollen levels along with water and sugar levels.

The main reason for the research is to look through honey from the same places throughout the world over a number of years to identify levels of pollution and pesticides, and how it affects the bees’ colonies.

I found this fascinating.

Honey TestingIMG_1839 (1)

Day Five

My Final day was spent with the Communications team to write this blog and learn how the team communicates with the public.

As my last day of work experience comes to an end I would like to say a 

HUGE THANK YOU to everyone at The Centre For Ecology and Hydrology 

for making me feel welcome, part of the team and for all the things I’ve learnt this week.


About Alex White - Appletonwild

This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. My passion is for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. This year my debut book "Get Your Boots On" was published I am a keen amateur photographer. All the photographs on this blog are taken by myself unless stated otherwise. I am a member of A Focus on Nature, the network for Young Nature Conservationists, BBOWT, The Oxon Mammal group and The Oxfordshire Badger Group. You can also follow me on Twitter @Appletonwild Instagram appletonwild
This entry was posted in Animals, Citizen science, nature, Oxfordshire, science, survey, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Work Experience and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Work Experience At CEH

  1. Tony says:

    Way to go, Alex.

    Best Wishes

    Tony Powell and naturestimeline

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a cool work placement Alex!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spocki says:

    Testing the honey sounds fascinating, and it’s a bit scary if those tests are necessary. What did you find out?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great experience and interesting work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Peoples Countryside says:

    There are a lot of very very skilled people there.

    Well done for getting a placement there.

    Liked by 2 people

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