Dr Liz Lewis-Reddy
Head of Living Landscapes at the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, UK
“I want to thank my supervisor for giving me the opportunity to work in the bat lab but I am looking forward to starting my PhD working with sheep.” The laughter that rippled around the auditorium following the presentation of my MSc thesis was expected but my words were sincere. I was looking forward to starting the next stage of my academic career at Aberystwyth University.
The west coast of Wales was a long way away from my native Canada but I felt I was ready for the challenge. Enrolled as a part-time international student, I had seven years to complete my investigations into attempting to reconcile biodiversity and agricultural production. I made a number of good friends and the opportunity to be a part of an Institution that was awakening to the close links between a healthy environment and the economics of the farming industry stood me in good stead for my current career with the Wildlife Trusts.
Over the past seven years, I have progressed through the ranks from project officer to manager of the Conservation department, and have often had cause to call on the skills and experience that I developed during my PhD, including the thicker skin! Instead of spending my time pouring over a microscope in the lab I am out in the field at the coal face working to reconnect the economics of the farming industry with the functioning of the ecosystem that surrounds them. Times are changing for both conservation and agriculture and the challenges facing both sectors often seem insurmountable, but if there is one thing that completing a PhD has taught me it’s that if you keep working at something, you’ll get there in the end!"