I’m a PhD researcher at the Open University, working on the sustainable management of floodplain hay meadows.
I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my love of nature was inspired by stories of my grandparents’ post-war farming adventures and I was often to be found knee deep in a stream or mucking out animals.
I’m fascinated by the way humans interact with landscape, both physically and culturally. Prior to beginning my PhD journey in 2019, I spent many years working in the, often contentious, world of countryside access, dealing with human impacts on the landscape; and latterly working with ecology volunteers, who are also working to manage human impacts on the natural world. Now I’m particularly interested in applications in regenerative agriculture and sustainable food production.
Floodplain meadows are an example of how agricultural activities can actually enhance the landscape and produce something more diverse than might otherwise be there, illustrating that human impacts don’t have to be negative.
I’m based in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences (www.open.ac.uk/eees) at the Open University in Milton Keynes and work closely with the Floodplain Meadows Partnership (www.floodplainmeadows.org.uk). This project will run until 2023 and you can follow my exploits at www.vickybowskill.com.