The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is one of 47 local trusts around the UK working to promote and protect local wildlife. The trust manages 42 nature reserves (when in Derbyshire you are never more than 9 miles away from one), including moorland, wetland, woodland and wildflower meadows. The trust works with a range of different establishments such as schools, communities, local authorities and landowners to promote and protect the natural environment. I was interested in the work of the Trust because I am from the local area so obviously its protection should be important to me, but also as a biologist I thought the work I’d be involved in witvery relevant to my course.
I’ve been working in the education department of the Trust, and seeing as it’s summer time I’ve had a very large involvement in hands-on outdoorsy activities such as pond dipping. You’d think it would get boring the third day in a row, but it’s amazing how everyday you somehow manage to find a new creature you’ve not yet seen. Working with children has been really enjoyable, but they keep you on your toes, I got thrown in the deep end on my first day when a child somehow managed to fall into the pond.
As well as pond dipping I’ve also bee helping in various other activities such as an owl pellets activity, where you basically dissect owl pellets (which are the indigestible parts of an owls prey) to analyse their diet to see how the activities of humans can indirectly affect owl populations by limiting their food resources. Also a very interesting subject.
Over the course of my first week the plan for my project has changed slightly, I originally was going to make a activity booklet for school children to take home with them after a field trip to the wildlife discovery room. However upon speaking to various teachers and my colleagues, I’ve decided to instead make 2 different activity work books, to go with the water cycle and wildlife exhibitions at the Carsington water centre. I have spent several hours of my free time after working going around each exhibition and briefly planning what each booklet should include to get across the main information the activity centre aims families and school groups to take home with them.
Upon reflection, I don’t think I could have asked for a better first week. It has absolutely flown by; the work is really interesting, I spend most my time outside in the sun, in a gorgeous area (as seen from the picture), and to top it all off my colleague’s are really friendly and couldn’t have been more welcoming to me. I really look forward to what might happen in the weeks to come.