My experience with The British Ecological Society undergraduate summer school

Lisa, BSc Environmental Science

My name is Lisa Mignanelli and I study BSc Environmental Science at the University of Birmingham. I am graduating in 2019.



lisa 2

lisa 1

I heard about this opportunity from my tutor who posted it on canvas to all students on my course. The summer school lasted five days and included fieldwork, lessons in ecology, social activities and talks from experts in the field.

As part of my preparation for applying I researched into the BES. I found that it is a society which was founded in 1913 to encourage people’s interest and involvement in ecology; by providing free information, regularly publishing journals and other publications and organising annual meetings for special interest groups. I also enlisted the help of the university’s Careers Network to look over my application. It helped me immensely to have someone objectively read over my application and assists me in producing a more concise and informative read.

Prior to the summer school I prepared by researching the area I was visiting and also the ecology and different species I may encounter during my stay. I was also asked to prepare a CV for my summer school mentor to look over and give advice on once I had arrived. The BES produced a Facebook page so that all people going to the summer school could introduce themselves with a small paragraph about their interests.

The summer school has helped to consolidate my thoughts on what I am most interested in, and was extremely useful in teaching me species identification skills and an overview of ecological consultancy practice. It was also fantastic to meet other people with a shared interest in ecology and learn from them.

The talks we were given were very practical, ranging from


mammalian ecology and entomology to CV writing and a career in policy writing.

A stand out moment for me and most other people in the summer school was visiting Skomer Island. During this day trip we sighted the Skomer Vole, Puffins and were even able to hold a Manx Shearwater chick!

I would encourage students applying for a similar role in the future to seek advice from the Careers Network on how to write an application or conduct an interview. I would also advise carrying out as much volunteer work as possible, as this is essential to gaining experience for a future career.

I am interested in many aspects of my degree so I am not sure exactly where my career will take me in the next few years, but I am excited to find out!

Lisa Mignanelli



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