What do you enjoy most/what do you find most interesting about your research topic?
I love the challenges and opportunities associated with restoring an ecosystem that has been dramatically altered for a very long time. I have had the great fortune of work in many areas where vast expanses of wilderness still remain, focusing on protecting and understanding these systems. Working in the Scottish Highlands opens up whole new conversations about rewilding, novel ecosystems, and resilience. It forces us to think about what could be and contemplate big visions.
How does citizen science support your research?
Creating an ecological baseline and monitoring restoration efforts is a labor-intensive task, requiring lots of hands to get the work done. Doing this alongside engaged and enthusiastic citizen scientists not only makes the job feasible, it makes it extremely enjoyable and rewarding. The research greatly benefits from the fresh outlook and diverse backgrounds of the participants, bringing new ideas to the project and spreading the rewilding vision back home with the volunteers.
What is one of your favorite moments in the field?
Watching the chilly morning mist slowly rise to reveal the rugged craggy peaks and the unimaginably green valley stretch away into the horizon, and realizing I was as far away as I could possibly get from the hustle and bustle of contemporary urban life in the UK.