Student Projects

Could you help us to collect and manage environmental data, either in the field or in the office? If you have time to spare or want to do something new, why not become actively involved? We have a database of over 3 million records, which is used to provide data to local authorities, parish councils, local people, conservation bodies, land-owners, students and commercial organisations. We are a 'not for profit' organisation and we could not operate without our loyal group of volunteers.

Project opportunities available with TVERC are outlined below.  If you are interested in any of the projects, please get in touch or discuss them with your University supervisor.  If you have any questions or other project ideas you would like to discuss, please get in touch at tverc@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Available projects include:

  • Characterising the biodiversity value of urban areas

    Urban areas are important for species such as hedgehogs and swifts, but the biodiversity value varies greatly depending on the amount of green infrastructure present. This is not always easy to measure, and this project focuses on methods for characterising the biodiversity value of urban areas. The results will be used as part of a connectivity study to see how the character of urban areas affects the potential of species to move through urban areas. This project will require GIS skills.

  • Nutritent enrichment along paths

    Visitors to nature reserves can significantly impact the ecosystem. One way this occurs is though dog fouling and other nutrient inputs along paths, particularly in low nutrient habitats such as heathland or lowland meadows. This project will involve surveying vegetation along paths and analysing the data against distance from access point. The results will be of use to land managers planning public access to nature reserves. This project will require GIS and botanical survey skills.

  • Important hedgerows in Oxfordshire

    TVERC has a large number of paper-based records for hedgerows surveys and in order to identify "important" hedgerows (classified by the Hedgerow Regulations) these records will need to be digitised and the important hedgerows will be mapped. This project will require GIS and Microsoft Excel skills.

  • Record centre data quality review

    The Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC), of which TVERC is a member, is working on setting data standards for LERCs that will allow for data from different LERCs to be easily combined for regional or national projects, as well as to meet emerging policy requirements such as Biodiversity Net Gain. This project will involve reviewing a sample of data from LERCs in South East England to answer questions such as how do the attribute names differ between LERCs, what percentage of data would fit the emerging standard, etc. This project requires Microsoft Excel skills.  


Examples of recent volunteer projects are shown below:

Understanding Hedgehog distribution. 

The volunteer researched hedgehog habitat requirements and dispersal distances, mapped hedgehog records and preferred habitats throughout Oxford and created a species distribution model. This article has been published and will aid projects such as the Hedgehog Highway Project to prioritise areas to manage for improved hedgehog distribution.

Approaches for recording habitat conservation work

Several different approaches were investigated for recording the conservation activities carried out by local groups.

Study of wood ants

 The volunteer carried out a survey of wood ants within Swinley Forest, A Site of Special Scientific Interest. They successfully mapped 50 Formica rufa nests and 2 nests of a rarer species – Formica sanguinea. This allows the local authority to plan maintenance work around the nests, minimising disturbance.

Invasive species

 The feasibility of carrying out a citizen science project to record invasive species was considered, involving mapping species distributions and assessing their suitability for mass survey observations.

Accessible Wildlife Sites

The initial work has been completed in setting up a GIS dataset of Acessible Wildlife Sites across Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Read more in this article