Rachel Hufton of “Illuminate Ecology”
Experienced ecologist with over 15 years in the field of ecology and environmental management, has allowed Rachel to read and interpret the land and its biodiversity. Conversant in ecological principles, design and implementation of survey and monitoring projects across a range of species in a variety of habitats and locations internationally and in New Zealand. Field skills include; threatened species survey and monitoring for birds (including territory mapping, point count surveys, transects and banding), bat activity/emergence, herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) and habitat assessments (including marine). From a young naturalist, Rachel studied Ecology at Lancaster University (UK) and went on to work for an International conservation charity and a leading independent ecological consultancy.
Following seven years safeguarding the local biodiversity as a county ecologist for Worcestershire County Council in the UK, Rachel was granted an annual sabbatical. During her sabbatical she made a positive contribution to international biodiversity conservation working on projects in China and Fiji with Operation Wallacea and Global Vision International. Her passion for ornithology later found her working at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand, a site of international importance for wetland birds particularly Arctic migrants. This role led to Rachel’s position as an ecological consultant with Forest and Bird working on a landscape scale conservation project for a variety of habitats and threatened species utilising Miradi; a software platform for Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (an international conservation planning tool).
Rachel’s passion for the natural world continues to grow being a member of the Ornithological Society of NZ, Forest and Bird; organising interactive biodiversity awareness raising events and communicating science. Now, self-employed, continually expanding skills, knowledge and also open to any ecological opportunities that may arise.
Rachel is determined to “illuminate” the importance of safeguarding our natural environment for the benefit of future generations, thereby making a positive contribution to the conservation of the natural world. Her ethos aligns and complements the vision for “Southern Light” hence together, both help to shine light on the beauty of the world we live in.
Images taken whilst working as an ornithologist for Operation Wallacea with International Schools on wetland bird surveys at Qinghai Lake, Tibetan Plateaux and mist netting at Wanglang National Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China. Featured bird: maroon-backed accentor.