So this last week has been a busy one with me quite literally here, there and everywhere.
I started the week off by going along to a Land Management Team meeting with Lucy and Jeff up on the Roaches. Also there were the wardens for the Roaches and Highgate, John and Hannah, and the two trainees, Andy and Adam. It was the first meeting getting the whole team together and it was really interesting to hear what the others had been up to and plans for the future. I had more of an insight into what goes on on the management side of reserves work. After lunch we made a quick stop off at Peregrine Watch and got some great views of the chick there. Then it was on to one of the car parks to do some tree safety survey work.
On Tuesday Lucy and I went to Hem Heath for a few jobs there. We were met by Alan in the car park and I got busy putting an adoption plaque on a bench whilst he and Lucy went off to deal with some fallen trees. We then turned our hands to replacing a rather old and battered bridge across a drainage ditch. The ground at Hem Heath is quite clay-y (is that even a word?) so it was rather slippery business going back and forth from the Landy. Building the bridge followed a very similar process to putting in a board walk and to finish off Lucy talked me through putting in a step. Back at Wolseley, Lucy was doing the safety checks of all the vehicles, so I lent a hand with that. It was actually really useful as it refreshed lots of things I’d had to learn for my driving test.
I started Wednesday off with my first wander around the grounds of the Wolseley Centre for a few weeks before heading off to Rod Wood with the Midweekers. We were there to take down a fence around some bracken, which will now be dealt with. I was given the job of cutting through the wire whilst others followed after me taking out the posts and collecting up the wire. After lunch we tried our hand at a spot of sheep herding as the naughty things had got under the gate into the flower meadows. Despite a few of the sheep deciding to hop walls rather then go where we wanted, we eventually got them all back where they belonged and temporarily blocked off the gap using parts from the fence we’d taken down.
I had an early start on Thursday as I was heading down to Somerset for an interview day for their heritage lottery funded Wild Futures Traineeships. The day was based at their Black Brook nature reserve, near the top of the Cheddar Gorge, and we could not have had nicer weather. I’d applied for a Practical Conservation position but there were also hopefuls there for Volunteer and Community Engagement, and Survey and Monitoring roles. We were split into small groups, and sent off to do a round robin of different activities. These included a plant survey, step building and designing an activity for children around mini-beasts. It was a great way to talk to all the staff who could be potentially mentoring us, and even though we all knew that they were really assessing us, doing all the different activities helped us to relax and meant that they all got a truer picture of who we are. We did also each have an individual interview but this was conducted outside on plastic garden chairs and was probably the nicest interview I’ve ever had. It was a really enjoyable day, spending so much time with like minded people and having a chance to learn some new things too.
On Friday I had the interview day for the same program but with Dorset Wildlife Trust. This was at Brooklands Farm, just outside Dorchester. Their day had a slightly different structure. All of the candidates stayed in one large group carrying out different activities, with a couple going off at various times for their individual interviews. Again the staff that will be mentors spent time with us all, giving us a chance to ask them questions about the positions and letting them have a chance to get to know us. Our first activity of the day was to create some bee hotels using bamboo and plant pots/used cans. We then went for a wander around their flower meadow. After lunch there was some digging but I was in my interview and missed out on that part. By the time that had finished, we’d completed all the tasks so sat on one of the benches chatting to some current trainees, waiting for the rest of the interviews to finish. Again it was a really enjoyable day with beautiful weather.
To end such a busy week, I’ve been offered and accepted the Practical Conservation Traineeship with Somerset Wildlife Trust! I’m ridiculously excited about it and can’t wait to start, though I am sad that it does mean saying good bye to everyone with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. I have a couple more weeks left with the midweekers, before I move down south so I’ll be making the most of them and enjoying my last few trips out around Staffordshire.