Thomas Pagon

My RAU experience

I chose to study at the RAU because of the mix of modules on the course, the small class sizes, and the expertise of the lecturers. A highlight for me was the Ecological Consultancy module where I learned about the role of an ecological consultancy, the key legislation and approaches in wildlife protection and how to carry out surveys such as bat roost surveys and biodiversity net gain assessments, which is a really topical skill that I have drawn on in my current studies.  


What I gained from the RAU 

The course taught me the key knowledge about land and wildlife management and how to evaluate different needs and approaches and take a wider and more holistic view of countryside management, as well as how to research and present information, and how applied research can be used for wildlife conservation at a site and landscape scale.

For my work placement I worked for Nature Scot on the Isle of Rum for 2 months where I assisted with the management of the island, nearly all of which is a National Nature Reserve. I assisted with practical work like putting up fences and clearing paths, and helped with deer management including working with highland ponies to extract the deer from the remote parts of the island and helped with the monitoring work including checking cliff edge burrows for shearwaters and monitoring tree planting success. From this I gained a real understanding of how upland and costal sites are managed, the contentions between tourism, rural development and nature conservation and how research and researchers fit into the management of wildlife and the countryside.

I am now a PhD student researching the effectiveness of different conservation approaches on sand dunes working towards discovering which interventions have the longest effect.