Jo Hawker

Jo grew up in the UK countryside and could often be found exploring the local moors, running the trails and experiencing the link between nature and well-being. After finishing school, Jo spent three months travelling in South America and volunteering with an organisation combating the illegal trade of wildlife. Here she began to understand the delicate balance between sustainable use and exploitation of nature. 

Returning to the UK, Jo completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biological Sciences at the University of Durham. Her research explored human-wildlife conflicts and the impacts of climate and land use changes across Africa. Following her degree, Jo spent a period of time working for a wood certification scheme, developing her understanding of market-based approaches to conservation before taking a position with Conservation Research Africa in Malawi. As an Urban Research Assistant on the African Bat Conservation project she worked on data collection in the field and urban areas alongside mitigation of human-bat conflict. This experience was a practical insight into the complexity of scientific research and delivering conservation solutions to communities.

For the last two and a half years Jo has been working at the science policy interface as an International Biodiversity Adviser to departments of the UK government. Most recently, she managed a significant project collating evidence for how nature-based solutions can deliver benefits to biodiversity, climate and livelihoods in international contexts. 

Jo hopes this Masters degree will deepen her theoretical understanding of biodiversity and societal interactions, supporting her career in helping to ensure the future health of people and planet.

In her spare time Jo can be found attempting any new sport available, on spontaneous adventures with friends, running up steep hills and occasionally riding a horse.

Thesis: Seventy years of changes in riverine woodland cover: Responses to elephants and human legacy effects in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. (Supervisors: Dr Timothy O'Connor, Prof. Timm Hoffman)