Summer has long gone but life as a Natural Communities trainee continues to be busy and diverse! Since my last update my traineeship has branched out in a lot of different, exciting directions.
I continue to do work with BTO, promoting the ‘What’s Up?’ project at various events such as the Mountain Safety Day, which was organised by Mountain Aid and was held in the Albert Halls in Stirling. I have also attended other events promoting the wider range of surveys that BTO are involved in (such as WeBS as well as promoting BirdTrack Global). These events have included the SCA‘s Paddlefest in Perth (targeting canoeists and kayakers, a new audience for BTO) and also the RSPB’s staff conference in Pitlochry. A great opportunity to network, engage and catch up with RSPB staff.
A key part of the Natural Communities traineeship is having the opportunity to learn new skills and engage a variety of communities with the environment. Now that the chaos of summer training and events is over, this was a good time to take stock and look at who I would like to work with going forward and what skills gaps I would like to work on for the remainder of my traineeship.
Part of the traineeship includes designing and delivering a personal project and for this I have chosen to work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE). I am keen to increase awareness of citizen science throughout the varies levels and sections of the award. I aim to do this by developing a citizen science resource for both participants and leaders of the award. I am working with the DofE and a variety of other conservation organisations to create the resource and will be showcasing it at the DofE Expedition Festival in January.
Another area that I am keen to build on my skills and knowledge is working with children, as this is one area that I have minimal experience in. Unfortunately this is not an area that BTO currently work in so having identified this skills gap, it wasn’t long before I had found the perfect opportunity to work on these skills… A couple of weeks ago I started work as a Wildlife Information Assistant with the RSPB in Aberfoyle. So in addition to working for both BTO and TCV, and working on my project with DofE, I am also spending some days with the RSPB/FCS at the Lodge in Aberfoyle, gaining experience in environmental education.
So far, I have helped out with a school visit (47 15-16 year olds), helping them to learn about geography (river features and conflicts) and also worked with the monthly ‘Nature Club’, which was all about sensory activities in the woodland and building hibernation homes. This week we have P3/4 coming along, with the theme ‘woodland’ – so lots of tree hugging, woodland games and learning about woodland wildlife. Very excited to be spending time here and to be working with a range of ages and learning lots about environmental education, a fantastic opportunity!!
Expect more detailed updates about this soon – for now though I will leave you with an view of the stunning Queen Elizabeth Forest, near Aberfoyle.
Thanks for reading! 🙂