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We need to talk about death

 In March 2022 I presented at the RGS-IGB PostGraduate midterm conference. My title was the same as this blog post "We need to talk about death" This topic is of significant importance in understanding landscapes and landscape change, but also important for research and researchers more widely. This is a thesis tangent that I haven't been able to include in depth, so I am including the conversation here (and adding it as an appendix!). Perhaps this is, as a blog post, a more useful place to begin this conversation anyway. In the summer of 2020 I had already decided to change my research methodologies to account for (what was at the time the worst case scenario but quickly became the reality of 2021. This also meant an application for amendments to my original ethical review. Part of the original review included both participant and researcher safety. Over the past year and partly due to my involvement in the farming communities the importance and dangers involved with men
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Writing and Publishing - balancing the thesis, papers and me

 I'm writing this following an excellent workshop at the RGSIBG Postgraduate forum's 2022 conference. Phil Emmerson and Sarah Hall presented and led discussion around the strategies and challenges of publishing papers as a PGR. It was great, really supportive, and made me feel absolutely nauseous I dedicated a chunk of time whilst on Covid lockdown to getting a paper written that was based on the data from my MSc research and further interdisciplinary research conducted for my PhD. It took a year of the paper being submitted and resubmitted, to the same two reviewers, undergoing significant revisions, until the paper was finally rejected. The process, alongside the fact that my personal details had accidentally been sent to the reviewers (and my subsequent panicked guesses about who they might be and how important they may/may not be in my future career) had a huge impact on my confidence at the time.  Having put the paper to one side I had tried to consider other options. Howe

Landscape Ecology - presenting at the ialeUK 2021 conference

This September the International Association of Landscape Ecologies (ialeUK) annual conference was titled "The Landscape Ecology of Forests, Woodlands and Trees" With a full day session on public benefits, my work on trees for Natural Flood Management seemed to fit the bill, and I was really interested in the work of ialeUK anyway.  Landscape Ecology takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the heterogeneity (inherent differences) in and changes to landscapes. The societal and biophysical are both considered - and as an inherent part of my PhD project is understanding how these different knowledges are entangled, and some basic methodologies in working with them, you can see why I was interested in the conference. See ialeUK for more info on Landscape Ecology Getting my abstract written up wasn't easy as there were a number of different sessions I wanted to be involved in. I settled for focusing on the methodologies I was using and the interdisciplinary natur

I'm a cartoon!

 This makes me absurdly happy, but in addition it was a really fantastic workshop to lead.  This poster was created by Holly McKelvey during a workshop a facilitated for the Treescapes2021 conference in July. The input from participants really pushed forward some key ideas, being both challenging and collaborative. Having Holly ( ) doing the live visualisation as a poster was a lot more than a cherry on the cake. Her ability to capture conversations and themes created a lasting, and easy to understand record of the process. And now I've got a little cartoon version of me!

Realising Forestrys potential - Presenting at Treescapes2021

Trying to present even a small aspect of the PhD work in 7mins is never easy.   This particular presentation was tailored to the Treescapes2021 2nd day theme: releasing (or realising!) Forestry's potential.  I focused on the importance of looking beyond a primary driver - for example production of timber... My work supports that which shows that increasing woodland within our diverse landscape, will mean creating diverse, small, "inefficient" woodlands. Where those responsible for growing the trees may not have the same primary driver or purpose, as the forestry sector who hold the expertise in skills, silviculture and markets.   By enabling multiple benefits to woodlands, and accepting other primary drivers for woodland creation: biodiversity, secondary small scale products, farm features such as shelterbelts, coppice for fuel/product/water management - forestry may find that the access it has to land and future resource starts (for once) to actually increase!   Given my

And we're back...

 After a three month hiatus I need to hit the ground running, as it's the final push for data collection and evaluation on the PhD. That three month 'break' was spent on placement with the Welsh Forestry Policy Team, working on the National Forest in Wales programme. Whilst that in itself is worthy of a number of blog posts, I need a bit of time to evalute the work I did, plus I need to work out what I can and can't say without breaking any offical secrets?! (I jest in part..) So presenting at the BIFoR 2021 annual meeting seemed like a great idea to get some feedback on progress, and try and get my head around what my PhD was actually like. Yes, I decided that presenting my PhD, whilst in the last week of a really challenging but brilliant placement was a good idea - don't go there.. It went, however, quite well. I really enjoyed myself, and as I only had 10minutes there was little time to make a mess of it. I only regret that I didn't have time to wax lyrical

Making videos! A PhD update

Well this was tricky! I've never made videos like this before and I know I have a LOT to learn! This video was created to go alongside a Poster submitted to the RRC's annual conference - online in 2020. Aside from the obvious editing and presentation improvements needed, my delightful silkie chickens took this opportunity to have a really good dust bath, adding to the distractions of road noise. Oh well! I'll practice this and try to spend a bit more time on it if I do it again, but poster and video below for the records