Ben Jones underwater looking at the camera and wearing diving goggles and breathing apparatus

In his element hundreds of feet underwater, BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation student Ben Jones volunteers both in the UK and abroad.

The 22-year-old from Ainsdale, Southport, recently spent a year travelling and working on marine conservation projects in New Zealand and Turkey, where he became a qualified rescue diver.

“I was planning a trip to get as far away as I could for a bit of a change, and that’s how I got to Fiji, fully embracing the Fijian life, living on an island, which was actually smaller than the Uni campus, with no running water.”

With a group of other travellers, Ben taught at a local school, educating them about ECO systems, as well as helping with local building projects.

Also travelling to New Zealand and Turkey, he supported local causes, learning about 350 different species of fish and gained his PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Divemaster qualifications.

Closer to home, Ben volunteers at the Formby National Trust, enhancing his learning of and teaching people about conservation issues in the local area.

Ben talked candidly about the moment he was told he’d receive a scholarship: “I wasn’t going to answer the phone, I thought it’d just be about my dive tank!”

With a burn to volunteer as much as he can, Ben says the scholarship will help fund another trip to Fiji in the summer and will help him encourage others to take part in conservation activities, as an ambassador for the University.

Ben is also the President of Edge Hill’s Eco Garden Society and has transformed the University’s allotment, which was previously overgrown, and has made a raised pond for the local frogs.

To find out more about Ecology and Conservation and how to study the course, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/courses/ecology-and-conservation or to read more about scholarships, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships