Meet AWC’s interns: Sandra Beasley

Wayne Lawler/AWC

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) offers opportunities for promising graduate students to gain valuable conservation field experience via our Internship Program. Current intern, Sandra Beasley, shares her experiences below.

When did you start your internship? How are you finding it?

I started my internship in February 2024. I am finding the internship to be an extremely rewarding experience and I have really enjoyed learning about threatened Australian species. Living on sanctuary at Newhaven has been an amazing way to experience a unique and beautiful landscape.

What enticed you to apply?

The AWC internship program offers a unique opportunity to have hands-on experience monitoring some of Australia’s most special threatened species. I was also extremely interested in learning more about arid ecology and landscapes, it’s something totally different to what experienced thus far.

Sandra participating in some prescribed burns at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary. James Vincent/AWC
Sandra participating in some prescribed burns at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary.

What were some of your expectations going in?

I was expecting to expand my experience in ecology and skills in mammal trapping and handling. While interning at Newhaven I was hoping to gain a deeper understanding of Australian arid ecosystems both from the ecologists and traditional owners.

What were elements of the program have surprised you so far?

I was surprised at how quickly I was able to become comfortable handling mammals. It was something I’d had limited experience with previously, but the entire team here made me feel comfortable and empowered to develop these extremely valuable skills.

Sandra holding a Boodie (Burrowing Bettong). Tim Henderson/AWC
Sandra holding a Boodie (Burrowing Bettong).

Is there a unique moment in the internship so far that you’ve really enjoyed or that stood out as a moment you’ll always remember?

My first night trapping was extremely memorable. It was the first time I was able to hold and process a Golden Bandicoot and I fell in love instantly. I was able to see animals like Bilbies that I never thought I would be able to see outside of a zoo enclosure. I am very lucky to have been able to experience this with an incredible team of mentors.

Sandra holding a very sleepy Golden Bandicoot. AWC
Sandra holding a very sleepy Golden Bandicoot.

Have you completed any other science internships? If so, how does this one differ?

Yes I have, In 2019 I completed an internship with Birdlife Australia in conjunction with my University. The AWC internship has allowed me to develop my skills within a small team but also conduct work independently. I have also really enjoyed being able to be involved in the more practical side of the sanctuary; helping spray weeds, maintain the fence, vehicle recovery and undertake prescribed burns.

Sandra mid recovery of a Ute that she bogged in a salt lake. Mike Mike Rawnsley/AWC
Sandra mid recovery of a Ute that she bogged in a salt lake.

What are your long-term goals in the science field?

I would love to continue my career in conservation and science. Working with threatened species and contributing to their healthy populations in the Australian landscape.

How did you hear about AWC’s science program? 

I remember hearing about AWC’s internship program during my undergraduate studies at Charles Sturt University. I was very interested in translocations and arid ecology and was encouraged to apply for the internship by one of my mentors.

Would you recommend it to others interested in science-led conservation and why?

I would absolutely recommend the internship, AWC is a leading organisation in the conservation science field. It’s been a great experience in practical conservation and will be a great jump start to my career.