Having gained a BSc in Ecological Science in 1994 from the University of Edinburgh, I spent several months doing voluntary work in conservation in Scotland, the Seychelles and Gloucestershire. I learnt lots and had a great time but I soon realised I missed research. I successfully applied for a PhD at Stirling, it being particularly attractive since it involved applied research on a species of conservation concern in Scotland.
My parents helped me to move up to Stirling in February 1999. I had to eat my words when they beat a hasty retreat due to the forecast of snow and, true enough, Stirling soon became snowbound. Introduction to my fellow postgraduates was mostly through the medium of snowball fights … an excellent welcome! Other memories include the fantastic views and wildlife in the Cowal peninsula and north Perthshire where I spent many, many months undertaking both day and night solo fieldwork. And finally, the camaraderie and support that built up within our tiny postgrad office (we were regularly reminded how much we cost per square foot!), friendships and support that have lived on well beyond our Stirling years.