Introducing Krisztina Fekete | Identification Trainers for the Future

In the second of our blog posts introducing our new trainees taking part in the Identification Trainers for the Future project, we meet Krisztina Fekete.

My name is Kriztina Fekete and I am a graduate ecologist, passionate naturalist, wildlife photographer and recorder.

Photo of Kristina standing to the side of country lane in a wood on a misty morning

Kristina Fekete, a graduate ecologist and the next of our ID Trainers for the Future to introduce themselves

I started my academic journey in conservation at Plumpton College studying Animal Science which was followed by an ecology degree at Brighton University. Over the last 6 years I have been involved in many conservation projects and surveys through volunteering for wonderful organisations such as the London Wildlife Trust (LWT), The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT). I have been working as a volunteer Urban Ranger at Greenwich Ecology Park through TCV for 2 years which meant carrying out a wide range of practical and educational roles.

I was always eager to supplement my academic studies with practical fieldwork and various very useful identification and conservation courses by the Field Studies Council (FSC) and Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). Some of the highlights were the Bat Detector Workshop (BCT), Bat Handling and Identification (CIEEM) and Habitat Conservation for Insects (FSC).

Surveying for different species groups has become one of my favourite tasks while volunteering. The bird, butterfly, amphibian, mammal and plant surveys were regular both at Greenwich Ecology Park and also at Sydenham Hill Woods. Through the university website I found out about Gatwick Greenspace where I also took part in mammal and bee surveys and attended their Big BioBlitz.

The first few bat transects I took part in at Sydenham Hill Woods were really memorable and when the opportunity arose to join the Bat Detector Workshop in Brockwell Park I jumped at it. Since completing the training I have carried out activity surveys as part of the National Bat Monitoring Project and a few emergence and re-entry surveys. Adding to the surveys mentioned above I was keen to take part in other surveys which I found online.

The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) website has highlighted a few selected species of insects which are of specific interest, so my sightings of Bombus hypnorum, Vespa crabro, Anthidium manicatum – to name a few – ended up being submitted there. Also stag beetles, winter bumblebee sightings, garden birds count, swift and bat sightings… the list can be endless. Since moving to Sussex this year I also volunteered for the Sussex Mammal Trust to survey for harvest mouse nests.

Being an ecologist it is necessary to have sufficient knowledge about all aspects of wildlife and I am compelled by the ways animals and plants interact with each other. Nature never ceases to amaze me and I cannot imagine one dull moment out in the field! Besides my love for birds, beetles and flowering plants I have to admit that bumblebees and solitary bees have become my primary interests in the last few years.

So much so that after bombarding BBCT staff with my numerous emails I was given the chance to volunteer alongside the short-haired bumblebee conservation officer in Kent. We carried out habitat and bumblebee surveys on the Isle of Sheppey among other sites. Solitary bees intrigue me, to survey for them is quite a challenge and it is always such a joy to find a different species which I haven’t seen before.

In between part-time nursing and volunteering I spend my free time outside taking photos of wildlife. Macro photography truly fascinates me and I am really looking forward to learning about the Angela Marmont Centre’s Photo-stacker!

After finishing my studies at Brighton I have found summer seasonal work at various consultancies, carrying out reptile mitigation and bat surveys. I am also working towards graduate membership of CIEEM which has strict requirements for CPD.

Last year I noticed the Museum traineeship advert just a week too late, but this year I made sure my application was in on time. There are so many aspects of the training programme I am very excited about; collecting and handling specimens, developing curatorial and training delivery skills, improving specialist photographic skills and exploring the various ways of scientific communication.

No budding naturalist could wish for a better place to develop his/her skills, get this high level of support and all the opportunities which come with the Museum being one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. The feeling to be part of this world for 12 months is indescribable.

Krisztina Fekete
Trainee – Identification Trainers for the Future