How time flies! I am now at the end of my traineeship with Natural England and Buglife. It has been a whirlwind of a year and I have really enjoyed it. My taxonomic skills and knowledge has increased a huge amount. But more importantly for me, my outreach skills and confidence skills have increased. Huge thank yous must go to John McFarland, Amy Styles and Rebecca Strofton for running things from the TCV end. Thanks also go to Buglife and Natural England for hosting me this year last, with a special thanks to Jon Webb and Sarah Henshall for mentoring me. All this couldn’t have been done without funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation so I am very very grateful for that.
At the end of the month I start a new job with Northamptonshire Biological Records Centre as ‘WILDside Project Coordinator’ This will involve engaging with the public and existing recorders, supporting and encouraging them to submit biological records. It will also involve arranging and running training courses, biobitzes etc and survey work on a number of different sites. I couldn’t have got this job without this traineeship and am really excited about it.
In the last month I have been continuing to identify beetles which were collected in traps in Windsor Park in 1993. This has helped refine my identification skills. I also spent a lovely few days with Stuart Roberts, an expert on bees and wasps. Stuart identified some bees that I couldn’t which means that I have now recorded over 100 bee species in Britain! I also spent two days in Windsor carrying out DNA sampling of wood mould to try detect the presence of a very rare dead wood beetle known as the violet click beetle.
My work at Blenheim Palace is due to be published in March in ‘The Coleopterist’ journal and will be my first piece in a peer reviewed journal. I also spoke about my Blenheim survey work at the annual coleopterist’s day which was an honour.
Thank you once again to everyone that has made this traineeship so great. Follow me on Twitter @RyanClarkNature to see what I get up to next!