Hi everyone since we are properly into the summer holidays now I thought I would talk about what i’m doing with myself, and also things you might be thinking of doing if you have some extra free-time.
At the moment i’m in a bit of a limbo work wise having come home to Northern Ireland, this has meant putting my job in the students union on pause for the time being until i’m back in September which they are really cool about since campus is quiet over these months. I am looking for work experience although this is rather difficult for me as a film/TV student since there is much less industry here than in England but we will see what happens! If you can get experience over the summer I would definitely recommend it as it is a good way to enhance your CV. Part-time work is also obviously very handy to have over the summer to top up your account which you will definitely be thankful for if the student loan runs out mid term!
Since I have more free time I have taken to learning the piano, but i’m genuinely actually gonna do it this time because I have put off learning an instrument for far too long, but so far so good. Additionally since i’m studying film/TV i like to keep watching things all the time and what’s better than a good evening binge. At the moment i’m watching:
The Wire- HBO/Sky
The Crown- Netflix
Black Mirror- Netflix
All of which are great so far and I definitely recommend if you are unsure of what to watch. There are usually plenty of festivals and concerts on all across the UK as well if your a music fan, even Ireland has a fair bit going on in this department which is a change since there is usually sod all here! I went to see Stormzy in Belfast last week which was amazing and I would definitely recommend him if that’s your kind of thing.
The most important thing about the summer is that you do what you want to do, there’s no point going back to university feeling as tired as you left so just enjoy it, till next time.
As part of the summer internship at Edge Hill University, I’ve recently gotten out to do some sampling! Related to the topic of the internship, “Does meadow restoration conserve genetic variation”, this sampling trip was a test run for a larger project. A recent Edge Hill graduate, Heather Wickson, and I took a trip over to Wigan and met the Lancashire Wildlife Trust at this branch. They’ve an Edge Hill friend and graduate, Mark Champion, working there and also a current student on a work placement. The team over at the Wigan office, as well as Heather and I, were to help Elizabeth Sullivan on this test run. If we could get the kinks ironed out and prove that this method can work, then she hopes the project can be rolled out over a wider area, having people from other areas collected specimens for genetic analysis.
Setting off for sites such as Wigan Flashes Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and Low Hall LNR to sample Plantago lanceolata (ribwort plantain) and Lotus corniculatus (bird’s-foot trefoil). These areas were teeming with life, plenty of butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies in the air, no doubt a result of the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing for the past few weeks. I managed to get a few good snaps of some butterflies around the area – particularly the common blue. Although I didn’t manage to grab a picture of the dragonflies out that day, I did snap a good one on the first year biology residential field trip to Cyprus.
Since collecting these samples from meadows in the Wigan area, Heather and I have been in the lab, processing samples she and another recent Edge Hill graduate, Katherine Judson, collected a few weeks ago. These samples were of Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle) and were collected from roadside verges down in Worcestershire. These roadside collections help build up the bigger picture, filling in the gaps of connectivity in meadows as part of Elizabeth’s work.
Currently, Heather and I are extracting DNA from these yellow rattle samples, amplifying them with fluorescently tagged microsatellite markers, and will soon be sequencing them ready for fragment analysis. After sequencing, I hope to help Elizabeth with the analysis and perhaps present a poster on the findings at the upcoming Annual Biology/Geography Postgraduate Research Forum!