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Marine interns: Lucy Lee

Tell us a about your background?

A rural upbringing fostered an interest in protecting nature and wildlife, leading me to study for a biology degree at The University of Sheffield. This provided me with many opportunities, including conducting a research project in the rainforests of Borneo and completing my dissertation on the future of sustainable agricultural intensification in the fight against climate change. After my degree, I worked as a home carer during the Covid-19 pandemic, and when restrictions were lifted, I spent four months travelling in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand, and Japan. I have also volunteered for an array of charities, including Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

What are you currently working on during your internship?

I’m conducting a research project with Canterbury City Council, to assess the use of Fluidion (mobile testing lab) in monitoring E.coli concentrations in coastal bathing waters. Additionally, I’m co-managing Kent’s Inshore Fisheries Project, for Adonis Blue Environmental Consultants and Kent Wildlife Trust. We aim to understand how we can work with fishers to benefit both the marine environment and sustainable fisheries. For my third project, I’ve devised a survey to compare public perceptions of offshore wind in urban and coastal communities in Kent. This hopes to provide The Crown Estate with insights into improving the social value of offshore developments.

What is a typical day for you?

There is no typical day, with the variety being one of the best features of this internship! Some days I am in the field, doing anything from carrying out an ecological survey, to interviewing fishers, to collecting and testing water samples. At other times, I am in the office, meeting with colleagues and working on project outputs, including GIS mapping, reports, and presentations. I have also organised and ran events, such as a beach clean and litter survey, and a citizen science intertidal survey. Finally, I have had the opportunity to attend a range of exciting conferences and useful training.

What do you enjoy the most about The Crown Estate?

The team have been so welcoming and supportive, generously giving their time to exposing me to new areas of the marine sector, inviting me to stakeholder meetings, and helping me with my research projects. They have made me feel like no question is a stupid question, which has been crucial in building my confidence at the start of my career. Moreover, it is important to me to work for a purpose I believe in, and so I am overjoyed to be supporting The Crown Estate in managing the sustainable development of the seabed to catalyse nature recovery and Net Zero.

How has The Crown Estate helped you in your career development?

Working at The Crown Estate has developed my understanding of seabed leasing, sustainability and marine planning and policy. Through their partnerships with offshore wind developers, such as Vattenfall and Ørsted, I have also been able to advance my understanding of the renewable energy sector and tour an SOV (Service Operation Vessel). I have been encouraged to pursue my interests and colleagues have always gone the extra mile to connect me to relevant people and resources. Furthermore, The Crown Estate has funded conference attendance and organised a breadth of training, in everything from business writing and presenting, to ecological restoration.

How has this internship shared your skills and prepared you for future work?

This internship has provided me with so many valuable opportunities to grow my experience and skills across the marine sector. I have engaged with a variety of stakeholders whilst working on Kent’s Inshore Fisheries Project, including fishers, industry experts, KEIFCA and fisheries liaison officers. Additionally, my water quality project saw partners from different backgrounds come together to form a steering group, comprising an eNGO, campaign group, local authority, statutory body, and water company. This experience in stakeholder engagement and my participation in The Wildlife Trusts’ policy focused conference has helped to prepare me for a career in shaping environmental policy.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

I’m at my happiest surrounded by nature. I love long walks with my miniature schnauzer in the Peak District. I also enjoy running and have recently taken up open water swimming – my target for this year is to try it without a wetsuit! If I’m indoors, you can often find me baking cakes for family and friends, or playing the piano, if I think no one is listening!