Lilidh Macleod - Leader
I am currently in my 3rd year studying zoology. I was a member of the Bolivia Expedition team in 2012 and I am thoroughly looking forward to returning this time as a leader. As the reserve has just increased in size I am excited to explore the new area and see how the reserve has changed. This summer I was part of the Peru Expedition to the Manu region of the Amazon rainforest. There, I was able to gain more experience of fieldwork and explore an environment completely different to that in Bolivia. I am looking forward to being involved in field research once again, and cannot wait to see the incredible wildlife that the Beni Savannah is home to. The work on the blue-throated macaw is especially exciting has it is a privilege to be working with such a rare and charismatic animal.
Laura Braunholtz - Leader
I’m a 5th year Zoology student; last year I carried out a work placement in the Peruvian rainforest for my MSci before coming back to complete my degree with my Honours year. Having spent a year living in South America’s jungle I fell in love with the life of a field researcher, working outside and carrying out surveys became my everyday routine and I’m looking forward to Bolivia as a similar experience in a different environment. The opportunity to work towards conserving endemic species is always a privilege, and for a critically endangered species such as the blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis) it is especially so, and this is one of the aspects of the expedition I was most drawn to. I’m also looking forward to nocturnal surveys, looking for birds, herps and mammals in a savannah habitat will be a new and exciting experience for me.
Alice Everett - Travel Coordinator
I am currently studying Veterinary Bioscience, and am in my second year. As a requirement for entry into the course I have completed around 10 weeks of animal related placements, including working at a vets practice, stables and feed companies. My course incorporates biology and aspects of veterinary medicine such as physiology and animal production, and I think this has given me a good basic knowledge of the kinds of ecosystems and environments we will be visiting in Bolivia. I have had the opportunity to write reports at school while studying geography. After undertaking various sampling experiments regarding the erosion of a river I wrote about my methodologies and findings. At school I also completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards, which required hard work and organisation skills to plan routes and navigate through difficult terrain. The area where I live is very well known as a habitat for migrating birds, and so since a young age I have been interested in different types of seabirds, and have learnt about the migratory patterns of species that have been recorded in the area. I am really looking forward to having the chance to spend a prolonged amount of time completing research that we have planned and organised ourselves, and to visiting an area of the world that I have never been to before.
Degree: Veterinary Bioscience
Rachel Cush - Publicity Officer
My name is Rachel Cush. I am studying Zoology and I am currently in my final year of study, year five, after completing a master’s placement last year. My previous experience include many different types of survey including vantage point, raptor, breeding bird, black grouse, bat, protected species and field vole surveys which were done during my placement year at an environmental consultancy. I also have experience in writing and organising the data obtained from these into excel and writing this into a report. I also have three and a half years visitor volunteer work with RSPB Lochwinnoch which mainly deals with interacting and teaching the public about nature and conservation as well as keeping the reserve tidy and updating the species lists. I have previously taken a few people on guided walks with the SOC around Irvine harbour to look at the surrounding wildlife.
I would like to go to Bolivia as it seems like a great chance to experience the culture and lifestyle of a different country whilst working to conserve native species and researching a habitat and environment which I have never experienced before. It will be a great opportunity to see many different species and expand my field skills and knowledge whilst helping to conserve some of the most threatened species on the planet.
Chris Field - Fundraising Coordinator
My name is Christopher Field, I was born in Switzerland and I grew up in Italy. I am currently studying at the University of Glasgow, and now in my 3rd year of Zoology. Wildlife and the natural world has always been a great interest of mine, this was reinforced additionally by my first work experience; this involved me volunteering at a local nature reserve. It was in this reserve in Italy that I learnt the basics of how a nature reserve is run, and I managed to get involved with ornithological and herpetological surveys. Furthermore, this summer I volunteered with organisations which included the RSPB and the SWT, here I engaged with the public and helped convey my knowledge of the birds and other wildlife that lived within the reserves. I feel this gave me a new found confidence. During my time in Bolivia I will be helping in research and conservation projects on the critically endangered blue throated macaw, and the other wildlife of Bolivia. As the nature of South America has always being a passion of mine, I am very grateful to be given this opportunity, and I hope that I can become a valuable asset to the expedition.
Matteo Crawford - Treasurer
I am a 3rd year zoology student at the University of Glasgow and this will be both my first expedition and my first time in South America. For my entire life, I have had a great interest in wildlife and conservation and I am taking this opportunity of going away to Bolivia to further develop my understanding of how conservation works in reality. As well as this, I seek to obtain valuable field biology experience that will prove useful in my future scientific career. Working in herpetology has always been a dream of mine, and I am hoping that on the expedition I will be able to experience and study many species of reptiles as well the ecology and habitats of the Bolivian Savannah.
Joseph Oxley - Fundraising Coordinator
I’m currently in my first year of University and am studying Biology, Chemistry and Geography with the intention to do Zoology in my following years. I’ve had some experience travelling before, visiting Argentina in 2012 with a small group. We primarily did physical activities such as mountaineering and kayaking however we had little chance to study or research any wildlife we observed and so I’m looking forward to being able to focus on this and develop new skills. Travelling to Argentina made me want to travel elsewhere, especially other South American countries, and coupled with a project I did whilst in my final year at school; on the topic of the impact humans have had upon Bolivian wildlife, I developed a passion to visit Bolivia. I’m looking forward to all parts of the expedition but mainly the parts where I can tie in both biology and geography; such as the fire ecology side of the trip. Camping in the wilderness for the entirety of the expedition is quite exciting to me, I’ve not had the opportunity to camp for any sustained period and so I am looking forward to the challenges this might present, and also to the feeling of being independent in the area we’re researching.
Eleanor Holden - Secretary
I am a third year zoology student and have always enjoyed working with animals. In 2011 I went to South America and am excited to get the chance to go back and get some practical experience with animals and field work. I love camping and working outdoors and in 2012 I enjoyed going on the Turtlewatch expedition to Cyprus though I am looking forward to a more hands on experience in Bolivia. Currently I am volunteering with the RSPB which will hopefully give me a basic background knowledge in birds which will hopefully be useful. I am hoping to gain some experience in field work which is a skill I can transfer to other areas of possible research and am particularly looking forward to exploring the new part of the reserve.