I can’t believe it’s just under a year since I first climbed aboard the minibus and headed out to Croxall Lakes for my first day as a MidWeek Volunteer. Since that first day we’ve been out in all weathers, all across Staffordshire and completed I don’t know how many tasks. I’ve now done my last day with them and before I start my new adventure with Somerset Wildlife Trust I’ve been spending some time reflecting on the last year.
-It has seen me going all around the county, visiting some beautiful places:
-I’ve worked in all sorts of conditions and been up to my knees in mud on numerous occasions:
-I’ve had plenty of encounters with nosy livestock:
-I’ve learnt lots of new skills:
-I’ve helped out with worthwhile causes (all of it is a worthwhile cause but I’m sure you know what I mean)
-My wildlife knowledge and identification skills have improved no end due to getting to see some fantastic wildlife:
(I could include hundreds of photos of all the wildlife I’ve seen but we’d be here for ages so here’s some of the highlights of what I was able to photograph)
I’ve enjoyed all of these experiences (yes even working in the mud!) but one of the best bits about going out with the midweek volunteers is the people. Right from my very first day they were extremely welcoming and friendly. They’ve put up with with millions of ‘What’s that?’ questions and been willing to lend a hand when I needed pulling out of the mud. I can not say thank you enough to Lucy the Reserves Assistant who has let me shadow her for the last few months and Jeff who has also provided brilliant opportunities. The volunteers have taught me loads, from wildflower id to how to use a drill. They’ve been subject to my driving without any word of criticism about the times I occasionally stall the vehicle. Even when it’s raining and we were slogging through mud they’d see the bright side of a situation, always ready with a joke. For the last year Wednesday and Thursdays have been my favourite days of the week because I got to spend the day outside, learning new things and doing what I can to help the wonderful wildlife we share this country with, but also because I got to spend the time with such brilliant people.
Although I’m sad about saying goodbye I am excited about starting my traineeship with Somerset Wildlife Trust. I’m also aware that I wouldn’t have got this position without all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the last year with these amazing people. I’ve got brilliant memories of our outings across Staffordshire and will always look back fondly on my time as a Midweek Volunteer. Who knows, if I find myself visiting home on a Wednesday or Thursday I may find myself climbing aboard the minibus once again!