The nature of wildlife science and conservation is an incredibly complex and dynamic field that offers a range of career opportunities. For those looking to learn more about the flora and fauna in a new place, #itsawildlife can provide the perfect starting point. And while we may be familiar and clued up on many of the plants and animals of our own backyards, as an ecologist we are often required to move around for work and jump quickly between different landscapes to perform flora and fauna surveys. For this reason, today we’re not just talking about learning your flora and fauna, we’re talking abut learning your flora and fauna fast – and how to start fresh in a new landscape.
So today, we are exploring 3 tips to learn your flora and fauna in a new landscape
- Focus on the similarities
- Start at the family level
- Gather your resources
Focus on the similarities
Although it’s always challenging when starting fresh on your flora and fauna identification in a new landscape, it can sometimes be a necessary (if it’s for work) and ultimately build your skills and experiences to grow you into a better ecologist. Not to mention, it can be an exciting and rewarding experience, provided you see the wonder and don’t let yourself feel too overwhelmed!
As such one of the best places to start is where you know – especially if you’re in an area with some cross over to landscapes you’ve previously experienced. Focus on what’s similar, even if the species aren’t exactly the same as those you know and build from there.
Start at the family level
It’s often best to start bigger picture and then refine your focus into a species level as you become more familiar with the landscape. Look for the characteristics that could slot each species into a broader family group and go from there. Especially when working in biodiversity hotspots, it’s not always possible to get to species level so aim for genus… and take photos!
Gather your resources
Regardless of where you’re working or who you’re with know that you never have to go it alone. When starting out with the flora and fauna of a new landscape, gather your resources! If books and field guides are available for that region or group of taxa then wonderful but if not, then focus on using free online reources like FloraBase and iNaturalist to narrow yourself and check your options within the habitat and location you’re working in.
And, above all, whether or not you have a photographic memory – take as many photos of the features of each plant species for future reference!
#itsawildlife is a blog and podcast designed to support and inspire young people who are looking to enter the environmental industry. The blog and podcast are full of interesting and insightful articles that cover a variety of topics, from the importance of biodiversity to the threats facing our planet’s fragile ecosystems.
In an effort to make learning about wildlife science and conservation as accessible as possible, #itsawildlife also provides the opportunity to connect with experts in the field. Through this connection, readers can reach out, introduce themselves and ask questions.
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