News & Insights

From Biology to Ecology – How Graduate Ecologist is Bettering Biodiversity in our Community

As a young girl, Claire wanted to become a vet when she grew up.

She thought, “that’s the job that people do!” when you love everything about animals and the environment they live and play in.

Claire found environmental sciences fascinating. With the support and guidance from her biology teacher, as well as recognizing performing surgery on animals was not going to be ‘her thing,’ this led Claire to pursuing an Undergraduate Ecology degree at Monash University in 2017.

An opportunity at Cardno, now Stantec popped up at the end of 2021, just before she was about to commit to another retail job for the summer.

Graduate Ecologist, Claire Tingate

On completion of her Honours in Environmental Science at Deakin University, the Ecology team in Melbourne, Victoria offered Claire a placement in Cardno, now Stantec’s 2022 Graduate Program.

Claire took a dive in the deep end – she started working alongside the Victorian Traffic Management team and took on a site supervisor role to conduct Growling Grass Frog and Golden Sun Moth surveys for a key client of Cardno, now Stantec in just the first few weeks of starting her new role.

“What I am learning in the role as a Graduate is so valuable,” she said.

“I feel lucky to be able to do so many different things and work on a variety of different projects, as well as connecting in with other teams across the Asia Pacific region, such as New South Wales and Queensland.”

Photo captured on night duties: the Mountain Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus cunninghami)

Only a few weeks into the Graduate Program, Claire presented her thesis research she undertook during her Honours at the Victoria Biodiversity Conference. Along with two other colleagues from Deakin University, she had assessed linear roadsides in Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges for conserving arboreal mammals.

Claire said research in remote regions are important in order to determine ongoing management and protection of these areas and their species.

“When we understand the vegetation in these types of regions are able to support diverse arboreal mammal communities, we must ask the question, ‘How can these areas contribute to off reserve conservation outside of traditional conservation reserves in order to stay protected and thrive?’”

With all of the great knowledge and understanding of our ecosystems our experts in the field have, there stands a general agreement that more education and awareness about biodiversity and our species is essential.

“In order to adapt and build sustainably within our rural communities in the future, we need to convey more community engagement and education on these matters with the general public,” Claire said.

“Getting people involved in the processes and having an understanding of how important our habitats are…I hope in ten years’ time we see this improvement and even better, I and my teammates have contributed to the change.”

If you would like contribute your skills and experiences to help better our communities, we have great opportunities available at Cardno, now Stantec.

Click here to explore our latest Ecology roles.