A great year ahead for wildlife loving Matthew

Generous players of People’s Postcode Lottery are helping a Northumbria University student move one-step closer to a career in wildlife conservation.
Volunteer Matthew Jones - Duncan Hoyle

Matthew Jones, Northumbria University Placement student. Image by: Duncan Hoyle.

Matthew Jones (20) from Consett is spending the third year of his four-year university degree course on a placement with Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

Matthew, a former pupil of Ebchester Primary and St. Bede's Catholic School & Sixth Form College in Lanchester is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) degree in Biology.

Having been a nature lover from a young age, which saw him exploring the Derwent Walk Country Park for red kites and camping in Chopwell Woods, Matthew now has a keen interest in bees, butterflies and all things linked to pollination and intends to spend his last year at university specialising in ecology and writing a dissertation on pollinators, before pursuing a career in wildlife conservation.

At the end of last year, Matthew was instrumental in setting up Northumbria University’s ‘Busy Bee’ Society which is working towards keeping bees on the campus and, in a short space of time, has made the site more biodiverse. The Society also runs nature walks around Jesmond Dene, round Prudhoe and Wylam along The Old Wagonway and sections of the Coast 2 Coast (C2C) route.

Over the course of the next year, support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will enable Matthew to learn about the workings of the wildlife charity’s 60+ nature reserves, with tasks including land management, species reintroduction, invasive species control, landscape restoration and infrastructure maintenance. He will also be able to take advantage of a number of training opportunities on offer to Trust volunteers.

In a little over three weeks Matthew has surveyed for water voles at Kielder, carried out grass management on a number of reserves, been involved in peat bog restoration at Whitelee in North Northumberland, invasive species control at South Close Field in Riding Mill and infrastructure maintenance at East Crindledykes Quarry, South Close Field and Weetslade Country Park on the outskirts of Newcastle.

Speaking about the support from People’s Postcode Lottery, Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive said; “Matthew has a great opportunity here to find out about how a wildlife organisation like ourselves works by getting involved in practical conservation over the next year.

“Matthew is the second student to have a placement within the Trust, none of which would have been possible without the support of players of people’s Postcode Lottery who are passionate about helping young people achieve their dreams, and for this we are very grateful.”