No Content Set
Exception:
Website.Models.ViewModels.Components.General.Banners.BannerComponentVm

Services

Technical services and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, water, resources, defence and government sectors.

Advisory and management consulting

Advisory and management consulting services for businesses and projects, including economics, due diligence, transaction advisory, ESG and more.

Communications, creative and digital

Communications, creative and digital solutions for governments and businesses including community engagement, design, research, data and software development.

Laboratories

Scientific analysis services for AgroScience, food safety, workplace exposure, environmental metrics and contaminants of concern in Europe and the UK.

Planning and approvals

Development strategy, planning and approval solutions for buildings, infrastructure, transport and city projects and investments.

Project and program management

Project management solutions for the most complex building, infrastructure, organisational change, and systems projects.

Training

Specialist training services, programs and accreditation for health, safety and risk, project management, and energy sector capability development.

Sectors

World-leading technical and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, resources, water, defence and government sectors.

Property

Design, technical and advisory services for the property sector, including residential, commercial, retail, industrial, health, education and data centre projects.

Energy

Energy exploration, development and optimisation solutions for renewables, power and gas networks, energy storage, oil and gas and nuclear facilties.

Transport

Smart, safe and sustainable transport infrastructure development services and advice for rail, aviation, port and road clients and projects.

Defence and government services

Expertise for defence capability and infrastructure investments, security and safety projects, and information and telecommunications initatives.

Water

Discover our industry-leading strategy, design and management solutions for wastewater, groundwater, flooding, drainage and network infrastructure.

Resources

Commercial data, design advice and technical management solutions for safe and environmentally responsible resource exploration and operations.

About us

Responsibility

Services

Technical services and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, water, resources, defence and government sectors.

explore Services
Advisory and management consulting

Advisory and management consulting services for businesses and projects, including economics, due diligence, transaction advisory, ESG and more.

Due diligence

Economics

Strategy and transformation

Commercial and technical advisory

Transaction advisory

Project investment and finance

ESG consulting

Explore Advisory and management consulting
Communications, creative and digital

Communications, creative and digital solutions for governments and businesses including community engagement, design, research, data and software development.

Communications and engagement

Creative, visualisation and immersive design

Social advisory and research

Data management, analytics and insights

Spatial intelligence and GIS

Software development

Explore Communications, creative and digital
Design and development

Technical and consulting services for buildings, infrastructure and cities including architecture, engineering, surveying, landscape architecture and urban design.

Architecture

Lifts and escalators

Building services engineering

Civil engineering

Fire engineering

Geotechnical engineering

Landscape architecture

Structural engineering

Surveying

Utility options and design

Urban design

Explore Design and development
Laboratories

Scientific analysis services for AgroScience, food safety, workplace exposure, environmental metrics and contaminants of concern in Europe and the UK.

AgroScience analysis

Food safety analysis

PFAS Analysis

Environmental analysis

Analysis of unknowns

Workplace exposure analysis

Explore Laboratories
Planning and approvals

Development strategy, planning and approval solutions for buildings, infrastructure, transport and city projects and investments.

Planning consultancy

Transport planning

Explore Planning and approvals
Project and program management

Project management solutions for the most complex building, infrastructure, organisational change, and systems projects.

Program management

Project management

Cost management / quantity surveying

Building consultancy

Explore Project and program management
Training

Specialist training services, programs and accreditation for health, safety and risk, project management, and energy sector capability development.

Health, safety and risk

Training: project management

Capability development and training for the energy sector

Explore Training

Sectors

World-leading technical and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, resources, water, defence and government sectors.

explore Sectors
Property

Design, technical and advisory services for the property sector, including residential, commercial, retail, industrial, health, education and data centre projects.

Residential

Commercial and retail

Leisure and tourism

Industrial

Health and healthcare

Education

Data centres

Explore Property
Energy

Energy exploration, development and optimisation solutions for renewables, power and gas networks, energy storage, oil and gas and nuclear facilties.

Oil and gas

Renewables

Nuclear facilities

Power and gas networks

Storage

Explore Energy
Transport

Smart, safe and sustainable transport infrastructure development services and advice for rail, aviation, port and road clients and projects.

Rail

Aviation

Ports

Roads

Explore Transport
Defence and government services

Expertise for defence capability and infrastructure investments, security and safety projects, and information and telecommunications initatives.

Defence

Security and safety

Information and telecommunications

Explore Defence and government services
Water

Discover our industry-leading strategy, design and management solutions for wastewater, groundwater, flooding, drainage and network infrastructure.

Water management

Wastewater

Flooding and drainage

Groundwater

UK and Ireland regulated water asset management

Explore Water
Resources

Commercial data, design advice and technical management solutions for safe and environmentally responsible resource exploration and operations.

Mining

Waste

Explore Resources

Projects

We define, design and manage projects that create shared value to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world.

explore Projects

Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

explore Insights

An ecology field trip to the other side of the planet!

Two UK ecologists – Sharron and Fran - have travelled a long way from home to do some field work in Australia, as part of an RPS global exchange.

22 November 2022 | 1 min read
Jess Graham

Australia

UK

ON THIS PAGE
Contact us

As soon as lockdowns lifted and international flights resumed, RPS wasted no time in launching its new Global Ecology Mobility Program. Jess Graham, an ecologist from Newcastle in New South Wales was the one to kick it off with a stint in the United Kingdom from May to July this year.

Now it’s the UK’s turn and RPS ecologists Sharron Burton and Fran Morris were the lucky ones chosen to spend some time in Australia for the busy spring-summer field work in the southern hemisphere.

But is an exchange to Oz as simple as jumping on a plane?

pic of Sharron Fran and Jess in Newcastle NSW as part of UK ecology exchange program

Preparing for a ‘challenging’ environment

Jess said working in Australia does have its unique challenges. “Aside from specific site inductions and medicals, we also have weekly meetings to discuss safety. Vehicle safety is big right now with all this rain. Even though our cars are well equipped for the bush - if we don’t have to save each other from being bogged, it’s a good day out!”.

She said Sharron and Fran will also need to get used to all the equipment. “Australia has a harsh environment. I remember in the UK being shocked that you could be out in the field with a t-shirt and no hat. Here we cover every inch of our bodies. And it’s snake season, so we also wear gaiters to protect our legs.

“Plus, we’ve got repellent for mosquitoes, ticks, and leeches. And there’s always Tick Off in the cars too, which essentially freezes off ticks. So yeah, our daily routine is different.

“Work wise, they’ll see we tend to do a lot of flora work, whereas in the UK there’s more fauna projects.”

tiger-snake.jpg

So how has Sharron and Fran’s time in Australia been?

Q How have you coped with the creatures and the ‘challenging’ environment?

Sharron: “It’s been great. Only one remote location vehicle rescue situation, lots of prickly swamps surveyed and many kilometres covered on foot. But having safety front of mind is important. On one of the field trips to the Blue Mountains we had to be very cautious as we were traversing steep-sided, remote swamp lands to locate some monitoring points. We found a tiger snake sunning itself in the one-meter square area we were about to survey, so avoided the area, discussed and wrote a site safety report and remained on full alert.” 

Fran: "I really don’t mind the snakes and spiders and other wildlife. As long as you don’t disturb them, they don’t disturb you and they don’t go out of their way to attack you. Due to the nature of our work, we do sometimes have to go into environments which could disturb them, such as farmland with kangaroos and dense bush with snakes and spiders. We just have to keep our wits about us, be careful where we stand and follow all safety procedures along with wearing appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment).”

ecologist Sharron Burton in Blue Mountains NSW
Discovering a wombat burrow in the Blue Mountains, NSW

Q What are some of the benefits of working in a new country and environment?

Sharron: "It’s been so great to see things I wouldn’t back home. I’ve watched a traditional ‘cool burn’ by the Worimi Land Council Aboriginal Green Team. It was amazing to learn about this and understand when and why this practice has been undertaken historically.

I’ve also done some camera trap retrieval checking for evidence of gliders, koalas and other Australian animals. And another highlight has been looking for and finding critically endangered orchids species and taking tiny leaf samples from the very, very, very small orchids for electronic DNA testing.”

Q What opportunities has this exchange offered?

Sharron: “The exchange has offered me the opportunity to see and study the incredible flora species and work at a much more practical, higher physical level than in the UK. The ecologists here in Australia are on expedition hikes during their surveys and are very fit and skilled. The work sites offer beautiful views with punishing outdoor working conditions, especially in the swamps and woodland environments in New South Wales. I have learnt a lot about the importance of safety and teamwork in the more dangerous, remote locations. It has also been great to pause from work look up every once in while to appreciate the unbelievably incredible surroundings in the Blue Mountains.”

Fran: I’m setting up a dog detection unit for RPS in the UK and I’ve been in regular contact with my Australian colleagues about their work with koala dog detection and monitoring. While I’m here in Australia I’ll hopefully get the chance to meet the handlers and dogs and see firsthand their set up. The opportunity to meet the dog detection specialists was one of the main reasons I applied for the exchange program.”

Koala with baby on back in a tree
Dog detection units are used to help locate koalas

Q How do dog detection units help ecologists and what do you hope to learn here?

Fran: “The use of conservation detection dogs across the world is a growing field in the ecological and conservation sectors. The dogs can cover a large area in a relatively short time and are particularly helpful in habitats that are inaccessible for humans, like waterways or dense vegetation. They can be used for monitoring and controlling invasive species and in ‘presence and/or likely absence’ surveys for flora and fauna.

In the UK, we’re researching the use of conservation detection dogs for hazel dormouse surveys. So, it will be really helpful to meet my Australian colleagues who use detection dogs and handler teams for the identification of koalas. To see how they operate and understanding what practices they use will be invaluable. I’d also love to see their dogs in action and hopefully see a koala!

Q What lessons or experiences from Australia will help with work back in the UK?

Sharron: “There is a lot more use of electronic recording on bespoke survey software and equipment in Australia. We’re starting to use more technology in the UK, but not as much as here. And I can see the advantages of using it more often and in more settings – and I definitely think we need to continue to go in this direction back home.

I’ve also greatly improved my flora identification skills. A lot of my work in the UK is surveying mammals, reptiles and amphibians, so it’s been great to survey interesting flora species in grasslands and look for endangered plant species.”

Jess and Sharron doing an ecological survey in Blue Mountains NSW
Surveying in the Blue Mountains, NSW

Q Highlight - outside work?

Fran: “Travel. I bought a cheap bike and I have been riding around the Newcastle area. I’ve seen humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and fur seals! Also, I’ve been out to the bush and seen kangaroos and so many different bird species. On either side of my work placement, I’ll be travelling and I’m looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful country.”

Sharron: “Being located near the sea means I have seen pods of dolphins on my daily morning walks. Fruit bats reside close to RPS’ Newcastle office and there are some incredible bird species everywhere I have been. I will be travelling around visiting friends and family in Victoria and spending time hiking in the Grampians in the next few weeks. I would love to explore more of Australia and am already thinking of returning next year.”

  • UK ecologists with RPS Newcastle colleagues exploring Newcastle in NSW

    Out and about with the RPS Newcastle team

  • Ecologist in the field in NSW identifying plant species

    Identifying plant species

  • ecologists Sharron Jess and Tara Boreham in Blue Mountains NSW

    Sharron, Jess and Tara at a survey site

  • Ecologist emptying water out of gumboot after working in deep swamp in NSW

    Emptying water out of gumboot after working in a swamp

  • Jess Sharron and Fran out and about in Newcastle as part of UK ecology exchange program

    Some non-work fun

  • ecologists looking at flora species in NSW

    Identifying flora species

  • UK ecologists with RPS Newcastle colleagues exploring Newcastle in NSW
  • Ecologist in the field in NSW identifying plant species
  • ecologists Sharron Jess and Tara Boreham in Blue Mountains NSW
  • Ecologist emptying water out of gumboot after working in deep swamp in NSW
  • Jess Sharron and Fran out and about in Newcastle as part of UK ecology exchange program
  • ecologists looking at flora species in NSW