Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Aberdeen University Graduations: Westhill conservationist hopes to save the world ‘one bug at a time’

Aberdeen University graduate Natalie Duffus is soon to move Oxford University after graduating with a degree in conservation biology.

An Aberdeenshire graduate has vowed to preserve all natural wonders for future generations and is determined to “save the world one bug at a time”.

Having grown up surrounded by the north-east picturesque scenery, Natalie Duffus was drawn to pursue a career in environment and wildlife conservation.

The 22-year-old from Westhill is now celebrating earning her undergraduate degree in conservation biology before taking the next step of her journey to Oxford University.

Reflecting on the past four years in Aberdeen University, Ms Duffus said one of the highlights of her degree was “getting her hands dirty” in the outdoors while volunteering as a member of the Conservation Society.

She said: “I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at the university.

“Some of my highlights definitely have to be the field courses I took in Bettyhill and Cromarty. They were so much fun and also a fantastic opportunity to gain skills.

“But the best thing has been meeting people with the same interests and being able to learn from each other. And I’m pretty confident that these are people that I’m going to be friends with for life.”

A “massive achievement” in challenging times

She added that marking the milestone event without her fellow graduates and lecturers is “bittersweet”, but nevertheless a “massive” achievement she is “exceptionally proud” of.

She said: “Throughout my time at university, I struggled with mental health issues, so to be graduating with a strong GPA and a positive future is a massive achievement.

“I think everyone graduating this year should be exceptionally proud – regardless of grades or degree class – as we finished university in a global pandemic.”

Although completing her degree during the pandemic was challenging, Ms Duffus is looking forward to continuing her education as a doctorate student in insect conservation and environmental law at Oxford University.

Changing the world “one bug at a time”

Having developed a strong passion and love for insects through learning more about them, she is hoping this would be the next big step towards making a difference and changing the world for the better.

“My love for insects – especially bumblebees – and the fact that they are threaten with extinction and in need of conservation is what drives me to make a difference,” she said.

“I want to be able to change peoples’ perception and make them see insects the way I do – they are so helpful for the environment and without them we’ll be utterly and hopelessly lost.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about and being able to continue studying that is just unbelievable to me.”

She added: “It’s quite nerve-wrecking to start fresh in a new place where nobody knows you and everything is so different, but I’m excited to make friends at the university and really throw myself in.

“I don’t know where life is going to take me, but I want to continue doing what I love and hopefully produce research that will influence conservation and policy, and make sure that insects are appreciated and preserved.

“My biggest ambition is to really make a change in that field and the world.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in