Introducing Evey!

By Evelyn Schreiner the 03/11/2023

Hello everyone!

My name is Evey and I have officially joined Aquila Wildlife & Nature CIC as an Operations Assistant! I am extremely grateful for Perth and Kinross Council for funding this opportunity through their Rural Employer Incentive scheme, and for my wonderful mentors Andrea Hudspeth and Terry Williams for inviting me on board!

I grew up in rural New York State and graduated high school in Ithaca, a small town near the Finger Lakes. There, I fostered my passion for natural history and spent many summers stargazing, collecting trail cameras, and getting to know my wildlife neighbours. I was particularly interested in larger predators, including coyotes, bobcats, and black bears as well as the enigmatic fireflies and woodland birds. I was keen to learn more about the environment and sought out BBC nature documentaries and relevant nature writing.

In 2018, I volunteered for Discover Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, where I had my first real encounter with ecotourism and nature education. I contributed firsthand to scientific research on hazardous algae blooms and helped educate the public aboard a freshwater research vessel. In 2-19, I volunteered for Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology with the Elephant Listening Project, a research group focused on using bioacoustics for African Jungle Elephant conservation. Inspired by such passionate groups of scientists, I became president of my high school's environmental club and led multiple climate strikes, organised a nature photography contest, and ran the social media account. During school I took electives including AP Environmental Science, oceanography, marine biology, and an array of art and media courses. In my senior year I created a semester long project focused on spreading local appreciation for nature. I managed six trail cameras across local woodland, blogged about my findings, and presented the final results to the class. It is a project I am still incredibly proud of!

After graduating, I moved to the UK and completed my first year at Aberystwyth University as a wildlife conservation student. I found it fascinating to explore the differences between UK and US conservation issues and solutions, as well as differences in habitats, species distributions, and cultural history. Alongside learning the fundamentals of UK ecology, basic ID skills, and evolutionary theory, I really enjoyed learning about geological time scales and the mind-blowing history of life on Earth. During my time at university, I earned the John Muir Explorer Award for over 50 hours of conservation related volunteer work. I conducted wildlife surveys, learned basic bird ringing and handling, and performed practical conservation work with peers. My favourite experience was at Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory, where I got to ring Manx Shearwaters at night on a remote Welsh island. I also enjoyed field trips to local mudflats to spot overwintering birds and learn more about coastal ecology.

After leaving Aberystwyth I relocated to Crieff, Scotland, and began exploring Scottish wildlife and landscapes. I admired the boundless nature of the sea, the wild peatlands and upland bogs, and the heather covered hills. I worked for a while as a dog kennel assistant and enjoyed exercising my knowledge on animal behaviour and enrichment. I am always eager to continue my learning, so I began to take ecologically relevant certifications and courses in my free time. I earned a certificate in Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release through Secret World Wildlife Rescue, became a certified snorkel diver through FSC Millport, and completed a training course in Phase 1 Habitat Surveying. I also took occasional jobs as an assistant bat surveyor, where I was initially trained by Aquila Ecology. I’ve been recently fascinated by nocturnal species, who I feel are often underappreciated, and am keen to continue my education in UK species and habitats through my position as an Operations Assistant!

Outside of ecology, I enjoy exploring the links between science, history, and the arts. One does not have to exclusively exist without the other! I love practising pottery, wildlife photography, and creative writing. I also love learning about prehistory, traditional crafts and skills, and storytelling. I hope to combine these interests with rewilding, restoration, and nature education going forward. I believe that allowing people to foster a personal connection with local wildlife is vital to conserving global biodiversity as a whole, and this connection often meanders through various forms of media or across various fields of study! I was extremely lucky to connect with local wildlife at an early age, and my goal is for more people to experience that level of personal wonder and joy. The world around us is truly full of magic!

Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to meet and connect with you all!

Much love,

Evelyn Schreiner