I decided to take up ecology as a career change but was finding it hard to get into the sector without a degree in the subject.
I was looking for a company that would look past the academic and recognise the skills and experience I had to offer without the prerequisite degree that other consultancies use as a filtering tool.
Arbtech gave me that opportunity and offered me a role as a consultant ecologist. I felt like I had finally been seen and my career ambition fulfilled.
The way that the company works is amazing – you have the ability to work around your own schedule and, as a result, can keep a good work-life balance.
Our work is provided to us by head office, so we have a constant supply of surveys that we schedule ourselves. It’s like being freelance but without the stress!
The support of my colleagues and the culture.
This only works because all of us are absolutely committed to the same key company values. There is a real and palpable sense of unity and pride within the company, and this has been an important factor for me, especially as someone starting a career in ecology.
As an Arbtecher, you have an army of people who have your back, from our management team in head office to the ecological and arboricultural consultants dotted around all over the UK. If you need help or just want to chat something through, there is always someone available.
Getting to go home after each survey is a great feeling, especially if it’s been a long day or a particularly cold one.
The unlimited CPD budget that Arbtech offers is nothing short of phenomenal too, and it encourages me to want to learn and improve my skillset and become a better ecologist.
And did I mention the 40 days holiday?
During the summer, I spend most of my time interacting with bats. Well, that is to say, I do a lot of trapping and handling of bats for research, which happens most weekend nights.
I have a dog, Otto the old. He’s still active, so we do a lot of walking. Living in the countryside, there are many places to see wild and wonderous things, so forest walks and Dartmoor hikes are a common occurrence.
I’m also a beekeeper, which is like being invited into another world! I find it so fascinating to see a new bee being born and watch all of the individual workers go about their daily chores. The honey is just a bonus!
When I’m not unintentionally killing plants, I try to garden and can be found skulking around the herbaceous plant aisles in the local garden centres.
I am a big believer in self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you believe you can do something, there is a very good chance that you will. Having faith in yourself is the hardest part.
I’m working on trying hard to not sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, the little and mostly free things in life are the most important.
Try to be happy and it will radiate onto everyone you meet.
A week in Wales with the new starters in 2021.
We had a whole house to ourselves, and I even ended up bringing the dog!
Cooking together to feed the masses and venturing up mountains; what more can you ask for? It was a lot of fun and so much laughter.
Meeting up with work colleagues for a nice dinner in a cosy local pub, paid for by the company, also makes it on the list.
No stress – just a chance to catch up, eat food and chat about life. Simple, yet so rewarding!
I missed out on Costa Rica this year and it remains one for the bucket list.
I shall try to get there at some point in the next couple of years. Fiji is also one for this list, especially considering half of my genes come from this part of the world!
Singapore is another place I would love to see, just to gape in absolute awe at their garden cities.
Closer to home, there is too much of the UK I have yet to explore. Living in close proximity to most people’s holiday destinations means I rarely travel far to get away from it all!
This question I always struggle with, as I am absolutely happy doing what I am doing right now.
I don’t want to do anything else, but I do want to be better at what I do, so I guess the answer is to be a really great ecologist.
Some may say I lack aspiration, but really, when I was asked this same question five years ago, my answer was the same! Only, back then, I was still dreaming of becoming an ecologist.
I’m not someone who craves the need to always move forward; sometimes standing still for a bit of time and just enjoying what you have already achieved is enough.
My new year’s resolution this year – and probably for years to come, as it’s a good one – is to be more adventurous.
Whether this relates to being a little more carefree in my daily choices or taking on a new hobby, I have yet to decide.
I don’t set goals. I have spent too long chasing them and have achieved all of them. But I do see my future being full of opportunity, and I intend to take full advantage of it.
Merry joined Arbtech in November 2021.
Meet the other members of our leading ecology and arboriculture team.