By Vic Hyde, Bournemouth University
From the very start of my university placement I took it upon myself to produce a video of my time spent with SAMARCH. Through the 25 days volunteering with the EU-funded project, I fulfilled a long-held ambition to help research and conserve fish on an English river. I discovered my talent for presenting videos and plan to develop this into a career.
Dorset is home to incredible rivers and amazing migratory fish, but all is not well: While rivers are threatened by issues such as sedimentation and low river levels, fish numbers since the 70’s have drastically reduced (see SAMARCH). The belief that I could make a change to help protect these rare habitats and precious wildlife is my motivation for studying for a degree in environmental science. When I heard about the project SAMARCH, like a salmon I jumped at the chance!
A typical day of summer parr tagging would begin by getting picked up from the B&B in Wareham and heading down country lanes to the river. The team then split into two and I could choose to help out the electrofishing team by netting, pulling the boat, and looking after the captured fish, alternatively I could help the tagging team by data entry into the computer system or organising the scale DNA samples. By the afternoon we were ready to return and have our dinner cooked by the chef. This was during the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme and because we also had money towards expenses one night my steak dinner came to £1! I gained many new skills which will help with my future career, also working with fisheries scientists from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust was an excellent opportunity to ask questions to professionals in the field and gain knowledge and industry insights.
These experiences were truly unique, and therefore I wanted to document and share them. Any spare moment I had was used in recording myself explaining the work and science behind the project. My fellow university students kindly filmed me and although I only had basic filming equipment, I endeavoured to do my very best. I brought my confidence, personality and enthusiasm to the screen, and I soon realised I had natural aptitude for presenting; this has led me to my goal of a career in TV presenting. This is a highly competitive career, however SAMARCH has given me a chance to practice my skills and start a video portfolio, which is essential to showing prospective employers. Through my videos I aimed to educate about the serious issues affecting salmonids and the river ecosystems. After all, if people understand environmental issues, they can become passionate about them and make a change.
Overall, I had an excellent time and I am now inspired to work for a career in nature TV presenting or fisheries/river science. My video will be finished soon and available to view, on this website, Vimeo and YouTube.