Meet AWC’s interns: Eloise Tighe

Jake Barker/AWC

AWC offers opportunities for promising graduate students to gain valuable conservation field experience via our Internship Program. Intern, Eloise Tighe, shares her experiences below.

 

When did you start your internship? How are you finding it?

I started my internship in February of 2023 and I’m due to finish up in July. It has been the most incredible experience and I can’t believe how quickly it has gone! During my time I have participated in the Chuditch (Western Quoll) translocation to Mt. Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, flown to Faure Island to monitor Djoongari (Shark Bay Mouse) and had a wonderful time completing spotlighting and camera surveys for several other species across the south west region. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have been part of the AWC internship program. It has been a truly enriching experience that exceeded my expectations and has given me a wealth of skills that will serve me throughout my career.

What are your long-term goals in the science field?

In the science field, my long-term goals revolve around proactive conservation solutions to address the challenges faced by our unique Australian wildlife. I am deeply interested in initiatives such as translocation projects and habitat restoration, which play crucial roles in ensuring the survival and thriving of vulnerable species. Additionally, I am passionate about contributing to the development and implementation of practical conservation tools, such as climate refugia and innovative monitoring techniques.

Processing a Djoongari (Shark Bay Mouse) on Faure Island. Helenna Milhailou/AWC
Processing a Djoongari (Shark Bay Mouse) on Faure Island.

How did you hear about AWC’s science program?

I was first introduced to AWC’s science program while I was studying at the University of Queensland. I was very interested in the translocation program, so I sought out seminars and publications regarding the topic. Further, I was encouraged to get involved with AWC in any capacity by mentors that highly regard AWC’s science program.

What enticed you to apply?

What enticed me to apply for the AWC conservation internship was their renowned reputation for implementing innovative and impactful conservation strategies, coupled with their commitment to preserving biodiversity and fostering sustainable ecosystems.

Eloise with a Thorny Devil at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Australia. Jake Barker/AWC
Eloise with a Thorny Devil at Mt Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Australia.

What were some of your expectations going into the internship?

Going into the internship, I had high expectations of gaining hands-on experience in wildlife conservation and environmental research. I anticipated being immersed in a dynamic and collaborative work environment that would challenge me intellectually and allow me to contribute to meaningful conservation initiatives. All my expectations have been exceeded throughout my internship.

Have elements of the program surprised you so far?

I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of mentorship and guidance provided by the program. The experienced professionals and researchers have gone above and beyond to ensure that I am not only learning but also actively engaging in impactful projects. Additionally, the program’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration has been a delightful surprise, as it has exposed me to a diverse range of perspectives and approaches to conservation.

Have you completed any other science internships? If so, how does this one differ?

This is the first science internship I have completed.

Chuditch (Western Quoll) survey at Perup, Western Australia. Issie Connell/AWC
Chuditch (Western Quoll) survey at Perup, Western Australia.

Is there a unique moment in the internship so far that you’ve really enjoyed or that stood out as a moment you’ll always remember?

One of the most incredible moments of my life so far was being a part of the releases of the founding cohort of Chuditch at Mt. Gibson Wildlife Sanctuary. Witnessing these beautiful animals returned to the land after years of conservation efforts was awe-inspiring, and being directly involved in their reintroduction has deepened my passion for wildlife conservation and instilled a profound sense of purpose that I will carry with me throughout my career.

Would you recommend it to others interested in science-led conservation and why?

I wholeheartedly recommend this internship to others interested in science-led conservation. The program offers a unique opportunity to work alongside renowned researchers and experts in the field, allowing for invaluable mentorship and exposure to leading conservation techniques. The hands-on experience, combined with the chance to contribute to meaningful projects, provides a solid foundation for those aspiring to make a tangible impact in the realm of wildlife and conservation. This internship provided me with the opportunity to deepen knowledge, develop practical skills, and form connections with like-minded individuals passionate about preserving Australia’s incredible flora and fauna.

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