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Environmental Monitoring Officer (2)

Age: 36

Organisation: Environment Agency

Patrycja Meadows - Environmental Monitoring Officer


Why did you decide on a career in ecology/environmental management, and when did you decide?

My fascination with science and especially biology was inspired by my Mother who studied caddis flies and always told me amazing facts about animals, botany and microbiology. My interests were focused on ecology from age 13 when I watched a TV programme about saving Planet Earth.

How did you get started in the sector?  What qualifications and experience did you have? Have you gained any additional qualifications since?

I chose biology and chemistry in High School (equivalent of an English grammar school) to lead to more ecological subjects. I studied BSc Environmental Protection at the Biology and Geography Department of the University of Lodz (Poland) and specialised in Aquatic Ecology for my MSc.

How long have you been in your current role?

I have been an ecologist for 10 years and in my current role for six months.

What does a typical day involve? What are your responsibilities?

I plan and deliver aquatic monitoring programmes, provide mentoring to less experienced ecologists in the identification of macro-invertebrates and help my team on technical ecological issues. As a National Diatom Mentor I analyse freshwater diatom microscope slides and interpret diatom data. I also investigate biological communities of water bodies, linking this data to water quality.

Describe the aspects of your job you find particularly rewarding and those you find challenging?

I am learning all the time – that is what I like about my job.

Describe your career progression so far and any plans you have for the future

I came to my current job through the Standardisation of River Classifications Project (STAR), a research project to calibrate different survey results against ecological quality classifications for the European Union’s Water Framework Directive. It was an adventure to see so many amazing rivers in Northern Poland and practise my field skills. My Project Manager recommended the Leonardo Da Vinci Project giving me a chance to work in the UK. In the future I hope to continue doing research and study for a PhD.