Student projects

If you are a student, find out how you can assist us in collecting and managing environmental data, whether in the field or office.

You can get actively involved if you have time to spare and want to do something new. 

Our extensive database, comprising over 4.8 million records, provides valuable data to various stakeholders, including:

  • local authorities
  • parish councils
  • local people
  • conservation organisations
  • landowners
  • students
  • commercial entities

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on our dedicated volunteers to operate effectively. Learn more about our data.

Ways to get involved

If you are studying for a qualification and love learning new things, we can work with you on your coursework or projects. Access to our database and contacts could give you a head start. We also have a selection of projects you could take on for your dissertation or research project. 

We can offer work experience and internships, enabling you to demonstrate your ability and apply your knowledge in the workplace.

We've outlined the project opportunities below. Discuss the project with your university supervisor and contact us at to find out more. 

Our projects

Characterising the biodiversity value of urban areas

Urban areas are essential for species such as hedgehogs and swifts. However, the biodiversity value varies greatly depending on the green infrastructure present. It can be challenging to measure this infrastructure. 

This project focuses on methods for characterising the biodiversity value of urban areas. We will use the results as part of a connectivity study to see how the character of urban areas affects the potential of species to move through these areas. 

This project requires GIS skills.

Important hedgerows in Oxfordshire

We have numerous paper-based records for hedgerow surveys. To identify 'important' hedgerows (classified by the Hedgerow Regulations), we need to:

  • digitise the records
  • map the important hedgerows

This project requires GIS and Microsoft Excel skills.

Record centre data quality review

Together with the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC), we are working on setting data standards for LERCs. These standards will:

  • allow regional or national projects to more easily combine data from different LERCs
  • meet emerging policy requirements such as Biodiversity Net Gain

The 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?

This project requires Microsoft Excel skills.

Species gap analysis

For this project, you can pick a species local to Berkshire and Oxfordshire that holds particular interest to you. You will then analyse the distribution of that species against protected sites across the two counties. 

It is most beneficial to select at least three similar species:

  • to compare the level of protection
  • outline new sites (or at least the criteria for new sites) for protection

This project requires GIS skills.

Species richness and biodiversity analysis of greenspaces

The project involves calculating species richness and biodiversity for greenspaces to determine over/undervalued areas. You would research whether these areas are over/undervalued because of:

  • a lack of records we could highlight and promote
  • a genuine lack of biodiversity

A primary outcome will involve comparing different greenspace categories. For example, compare species diversity in a park or playing field to that in a nature reserve. Emphasise the importance of biodiversity, rewilding and protection of greenspaces. Additionally, consider comparing greenspace biodiversity in high- and low-income areas to highlight the need for better land management and prioritisation in low-income regions.

This project requires GIS and data analysis skills.

Surveying accessible wildlife sites

In collaboration with Oxford student Naomi Parker, we have developed an 'accessible wildlife sites' layer. These greenspaces hold wildlife value and fall into the following categories:

  • open access
  • open with a fee
  • accessible via public rights of way (restricted to the right of way) 

The data coverage for some of these sites could be better. We, therefore, want our students and volunteers to go out and record. 

If a particular species group interests you, we can provide the accessible sites with the fewest records for that group. That way, your contributions will significantly impact our database. We are ready to support any research project related to these sites, whether through advice, additional GIS layers, or data analysis training.

This project requires species identification skills. 

Horizon scanning

This project involves:

  • looking into the top invasive threats to the UK
  • researching the best methods to predict potential invasion areas across Berkshire and Oxfordshire

The project will highlight key areas for colonisation and allow you to discuss how to manage these areas best to prevent the species from spreading. 

A longer-term project would encourage local groups to monitor potential invasion sites. The optimal method to identify potential invasion sites is to apply habitat suitability modelling for each species to Berkshire and Oxfordshire. 

This project requires GIS and data analysis skills.