TWO interns focused experience the South Walney marine environment in the North West during a six-month programme funded by The Crown Estate.

Lucy Mather and Daniele Clifford have just completed six months’ successful work experience on the Marine Futures North West internship programme, working with the North West Wildlife Trusts, The Crown Estate, Ørsted and Natural England.

They’ have been counting grey seals at the colony at South Walney Nature Reserve, learning how to fly a drone to survey species, and working with fishermen to find better ways of disposing of litter at sea.

Before starting the internship in November, Dani had experience of biological research in Spain, as well as managing a marine site for Alderney Wildlife Trust.

She was excited to bring her passion and knowledge to collaborative environmental research and community engagement. Dani said: “I have loved every minute of the internship! The opportunity to work with four prestigious partner organisations on interesting and valuable projects has given me unique insights into the marine and offshore wind sectors.

"I’m passionate about seabirds so a real highlight has been researching cormorants’ use of an offshore wind farm and the problems that causes for the site, in order to come up with innovative solutions which benefit both the birds and the wind farm.

"There have been so many amazing opportunities to contribute to enhancing the marine environment, Marine Futures really has rounded my experience and kick-started my career, leading to an amazing job in marine conservation.”

Lucy had worked previously with an engineering consultancy but also enjoyed mountain and adventure leadership. She wanted to return to the outdoors, inspiring people to explore the natural world and connect with nature, and the internship enabled her to do this.

"Marine Futures has been the perfect experience to get my “foot in the door” of the marine conservation sector and to learn more about the fantastic marine wildlife just off our coast," she said. "It has allowed me to work alongside a diverse range of sea users, from wind farm developers and fishing industry representatives to regulatory bodies and community volunteers. This cross-sector experience will be essential for my future role, as sustainable fishing is by nature a highly interdisciplinary topic!"

Both interns are now delighted to have secured full-time jobs in marine conservation, Dani as a Marine Conservation Officer for The Wildlife Trusts and Lucy as Community Engagement Officer for My Local Catch, a sustainable fishing project run by Cumbria Wildlife Trust.