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From Country to Cardno: How Cooper kickstarted his career in Ecology

From the beginning of his ecology journey, Henry Cooper knew he wanted to be a part of a crew that would give him plenty of opportunities to fulfil his passion for plants, spend time outside in unique settings encountering interesting species and work alongside people who were enthused about making the world a better place through conservation.

Born and raised in a country town in Portland, South-West Victoria and having lived in Melbourne to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, towards the end of his studies, Henry was keen to put his degree into practice in a diverse and unique environment.

Whilst completing his Masters of Science in Forest Ecosystem Science, Henry packed his bags and flew overseas to complete his research project on forest regeneration in the jungles of western Thailand.

For three months, living in a hut without any phone service or running water, Henry worked with the locals to conduct his research project on a 50-hectare plot, which contained 26 years of data on adult trees, yet had little to no data on the tree’s seedling stages. Henry began his work digging up samples of soil and germinating them to see what interesting data he could find amongst the forest trees. During his time in the jungle, he also learnt a lot about Thai culture and that the locals he was living with were exceptional cooks too!

Out in the wilderness. Ecologist, Henry Cooper.

From his experiences in Thailand and graduating from The University of Melbourne, they then led Henry to conduct field surveys on bats, badgers, otters and newts in the United Kingdom, as well as weed control, snake safety training and revegetation in the Greater Melbourne and Glenelg Hopkins areas in Australia.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in early 2020, Henry and his partner decided to move back to Australia and settle in Melbourne. In 2021, Henry’s brother at the time was employed at Cardno and spoke to his younger brother about positions opening up in his field of work. Henry applied for work with our team in Melbourne and since his time with us, he has worked on major projects including the North East Link Project and Level Crossing Removal Project.

“Consulting is an interesting and challenging area to be working in as an ecologist,” said Henry.

“As long as there is going to be development, there needs to be conservation. Development is not going to be slowing down anytime soon. And this is where ecology plays a vital part in consulting.”

Over the last three years, Henry has encountered some incredibly insightful experiences in the early stages of his career. As a consulting company that is dedicated to drawing on the experience of our environmental professionals to solve technical challenges collaboratively, Henry continues to apply his skills and knowledge and learn from his peers across agricultural, water, railway, road and residential sectors.

Find out more about our ecology services.