Millie Parks

Millie Parks

United Kingdom
MRes Biosciences

What Faculty are you based in?

You can find me in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

What is your research topic?

My research focuses on real world solutions to habitat degradation and fragmentation caused by barriers in rivers. The overarching aim is to make it as easy as possible for river stakeholders to create biodiverse, free-flowing rivers.

What led to your interest in this area?

Having grown up very rural and almost exclusively outdoors, my childhood curiosity of the natural world lingered into adulthood, developing into a keen interest in the Earth’s resources and pristine ecosystems. On this journey, I was lurched into discovering how we were destroying our pristine world for simple greed and seemingly exponential growth. The disbelief of current inaction has driven me to become a part of the conversation towards environmental protection and restoration.

How did you come to study at Swansea University?

This interest materialised into a degree in Environmental Resource Management, some incredible work opportunities abroad and landing a research role within Marine Scotland. As with everything, Covid hit the environmental sector hard, but I was somehow fortunate enough to land a KESS II funded MRes here at Swansea, in a degree creating real change.

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

I hope this research is used practically in real-world scenarios. By testing different parameters, assumptions and models, my research will make it easier for our rivers to return to their natural flow, conserving their unique ecosystems. Ultimately, I am determined to leave the Earth better than I found it. As Robin Wall Kimmerer sums aptly, “Science can be a way of forming intimacy and respect with other species. I’ve never met an ecologist who came to the field for the love of data or the wonder of a p-value. Doing science with awe and humility is a powerful act of reciprocity with the natural world.”

What are the best things about conducting your research at Swansea University?

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunities to get involved with research and collaboration outside of my degree. Not only this, but South Wales is a beautiful place to live, and I will miss living here when it is time to move on.

What are your plans for the future?

This sector is ever-changing, and I think this will lead to an exciting career. I have no concrete plans other than to keep working on projects which are making an active difference to the world, as this is what I find most fulfilling.