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Ella Berry, 2020/21

MSc Conservation Practice
University of Cardiff

The support of the Anna Plowden Trust throughout the two years of my Masters from 2019 to 2021 is allowing me to move into natural history conservation, after discovering my passion for the subject during my undergraduate degree in Zoology. This support enabled me to dedicate myself completely to my studies and achieve grades that reflect the best of my abilities.

During the course, I have worked to conserve a range of objects, from glass plate negatives and Welsh music books to a Roman coin hoard and taxidermy specimens. In addition to my conservation of taxidermy during the course, I have produced my own ethical taxidermy specimens in my own time in order to obtain a better understanding of the skills and processes needed to produce such pieces.

The vote of confidence given to me by the Trustees in turn raised my own self-confidence throughout the course.  I have made strong, positive, personal and professional contacts with other conservators, particularly thorough the Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA).  I recently ran my own conference for NatSCA on Twitter to mark International Women in Science Day, creating a series of posts raising awareness to the ground-breaking achievements women have made in science. I am proud to be supported by the trust established in memory of Anna Plowden, who clearly possessed the same pioneering spirit.