2017 UQ placement student, Penelope Webster, measures the diameter of a tree at Sheep Station Creek Conservation Park prior to nest box installation as part of her greater glider placement project.

2017 UQ placement student, Penelope Webster, measures the diameter of a tree at Sheep Station Creek Conservation Park prior to nest box installation as part of her greater glider placement project.

Since 2014, Wildlife Queensland has hosted students from a range of educational institutions seeking placement opportunities in the environmental conservation industry. Students placed with Wildlife Queensland undertake projects in policy development, wildlife monitoring, and community engagement, and support Head Office staff in the day-to-day running of the Society.

Wildlife Queensland’s placement projects are designed to offer students the opportunity to develop both discipline-specific and transferable skills, as well as an understanding of the contributions and obligations expected of a professional graduate in the environmental field. Activities undertaken during a placement include volunteer management, event organisation, field surveys, reporting, stakeholder engagement, desktop research, and administration and general office duties. With support, each student takes ownership of their specific project, from experimental/survey design and recruitment/training of volunteers, through to analysis/reporting of data and presentation of findings/recommendations.

In particular, Wildlife Queensland has been a strong supporter of the University of Queensland’s 14-week industry placement, a compulsory course in the Bachelor of Environmental Management (Honours) degree program. Since 2014, WPSQ has hosted approximately eight per cent of all environmental management students undertaking their placement, demonstrating a significant contribution to the program.

The support and guidance provided by Wildlife Queensland staff and Council members have raised the profile of the Society among UQ’s students as a preferred placement provider. Further, after the passing of Holly Bryant, who sought to formalise the relationship between Wildlife Queensland and UQ in 2014 in her then role as the Society’s Projects Manager, Wildlife Queensland established an award in memoriam, which is granted annually to one of the previous year’s placement students in recognition of their contributions.

UQ placement student testimonial: “It was both challenging and exciting to be placed in charge of the day-to-day operations of a project of this scope and to be able to be part of consultation meetings with various stakeholders including local authorities.”

This approach ensures each student gains confidence in their ability to manage projects, and comes away from their placement experience with tangible evidence of their achievements. As an organisation which relies on the commitment of its volunteers, Wildlife Queensland values the contributions of students and benefits from the outcomes of the placement projects, which have become a fundamental part of the Society’s operations. Furthermore, many students placed with Wildlife Queensland go on to return as regular volunteers, demonstrating their ongoing commitment not only to their respective projects but to the Society and conservation as a whole.

Written by wildlife1ict