Growing up in a woodland just outside Milverton gave me an innate love of nature and the wild. I went to Milverton school and enjoyed a rural lifestyle. This all led me to choose to study Environment and Conservation Biology at University.
Following this I got a European funded placement working in Dadia National Park in Greece for a year for WWF Greece. The project involved tracking Cinereous vultures and Griffon vultures and studying the effects of wind turbines on birds of prey. Dadia locked in my passion for birds of prey and it started a snowball effect in my career.
I went on to do an Internship at Hawk Mountain in the USA. We carried out a raptor migration count and it taught me the importance of global conservation efforts as birds know no borders.
After this I carried out raptor migration work in Italy the strait of Messina, The Batumi raptor count in Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and the highlight of my career in Veracruz Mexico we counted and identified 4.5 million raptors on migration.
Alongside raptor migration counts I also worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK working on a Hen harrier breeding survey. I have also worked for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Hawk and Owl Trust where I specialised in Urban Peregrines. Amongst all of the above I carried out an MSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation and studied Buzzards.
Currently I am working with the Roy Dennis Foundation helping with the White-Tailed Eagle reintroduction to England.
The world is full of chances and opportunities. My advice is find your passion, take a risk and make it happen. Wherever you go, keep a special place for Milverton in your heart’
Zoe is the daughter of Diana and Richard Smith of Spring Grove. Many thanks to her.