Tales from the Trainees: Winter Update

Tales from the Trainees: Winter Update

Trainee Reserve Officers Abi and Cormac update us on what they’ve been getting up to at Rutland Water Nature Reserve. Since our previous blog entries, we have been involved in a lot more work on the reserve, both with the reserve’s Habitat team and the Projects team. As part of the traineeship, we had the chance to be put through our chainsaw assessment.  This has enabled us to participate in winter woodland management, including creating a coppice coupe in Hambleton Wood.  This is traditional woodland management which increases structural diversity, by creating a thick understorey. In addition to chainsaw assessments, we have had the opportunity to partake in various courses, including first aid at work, deer impact assessments, tree safety surveys/inspections and tractor training, all of which will come in useful in our future careers in conservation. We have also taken part in grassland management at a local quarry, to remove woody plant species, using brushcutters, to enable grazing to take place which will encourage the growth of wildlflowers in the spring.  This particular grassland is calcareous, and supports orchid species and other carline thistle, which is in turn a vital habitat component for butterfly species including the rare Large Blue. One of the first tasks we completed in 2019 was a hedge laying course with John Shone, who has immense knowledge of countryside crafts, including hedge laying and dry stone walling.  We learned a huge amount and have since been tasked with leading volunteers on a hedge laying project. On Fridays we have chosen to get involved with the Projects team, showing a different side of the way...
Tales from the Trainees: Introducing Cormac

Tales from the Trainees: Introducing Cormac

A blog from Cormac Adlard, who joins Abi Mustard to complete our Trainee Reserve Officer team for 2018/19! Hi everyone, I’m Cormac and I’m one of the TROs for the next year! Born and raised in a little corner of North East Lincolnshire, not far from the popular Donna Nook Nature Reserve. Growing up on a 400 acre mixed farm enrolled in the higher level environmental stewardship scheme, a passion and respect for the natural world was instilled in me from a young age. Adding to this a mother who is a keen botanist, a career in the conservation sector beckoned. After completing my A-Levels I chose to travel as far from home as possible and study Environmental Biosciences at Aberystwyth University. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Wales and took part in as many difference activities as my time would allow. In my final year I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks helping carry out research in various fields deep in the Bornean rainforest in the Sabah region. During this time I encountered the two faces of Borneo; the vast monoculture of the Palm Oil Plantations but also the immense biodiversity of the rainforest, which included seeing orang-utans in the wild. This experience only strengthened my desire to pursue a career closely tied to the environment and ensuring it’s preserved for future generations. In my year after graduation I spent a short period of time working with a Miscanthus breeding programme at Aberystwyth University. Following this I decided it was time I took a step toward being a reserve officer/warden and planned to look for a traineeship...
Tales from the Trainees: Abi’s story

Tales from the Trainees: Abi’s story

A blog by new Trainee Reserve Officer Abi Mustard, an old friend of the nature reserve back to join us in a new role after completing her degree. “The natural world is the greatest source of excitement.  The greatest source of visual beauty.  It is the greatest source of so much of life that makes life worth living.” ~ Sir David Attenborough I like the idea of starting this piece with a quote and feel it is only appropriate for it to be from Sir David Attenborough.  As he puts so eloquently, the natural world is jam-packed full of fascinating phenomena, stunning habitats and picturesque landscapes.  In my biased opinion, Rutland Water is one such example of natural beauty, and has been the place where I have developed a keen interest in the world of conservation, which is what I shall be babbling about in this entry.  But before any of that I should introduce myself.  My name is Abigail, but most people call me Abi, and I am lucky to be one of this year’s Trainee Reserve Officers (TROs). So, let me start at the very beginning when I first began my volunteering career at Rutland Water seven years ago.  The Rutland Osprey Project’s Education Team, who included one of the current team members Ken Davies, visited my school to do what they do best – talk ospreys.  After such a fascinating and enthusiastic presentation, I couldn’t help but see if I could get involved, and I was able to arrange two weeks’ work experience with the Rutland Osprey Project.  This involved monitoring the ospreys, as well as...
My week of work experience at Rutland Water by Lydia

My week of work experience at Rutland Water by Lydia

My general interest in nature and how we as humans interact with it is what initially spurred me to seek out work experience in the environmental sector. A career in conservation has always been on the list of possibilities for me so work experience seemed like an excellent way to gather an understanding of what a career in conservation might entail. I discovered the work experience placement at Rutland Water whilst browsing online and the location as well as the range of different tasks that it offered ticked the box perfectly. Additionally, having already visited the Osprey visitor Centre at Lyndon once before, I had some insight into the Osprey project and was eager to learn more.   I spent my first day helping out at the Anglian Water bird watching Centre with a girls and boys brigade who came in to carry out activities including pond dipping, butterfly catching and bird watching. After being a bit nervous to begin with I was soon made feel welcome and at home by Luke, the activity leader. I helped set up at the pond and in the Centre for the three activities and on the arrival of the group we took them down to the pond to begin pond dipping. There was an unusually large age range within the group and I benefited from encouraging and sharing my previously acquired knowledge with the younger members whilst discussing a common interest in nature with the older members. During the butterfly catching I learnt to identify a number of species that were new to me such as the speckled wood and the gatekeeper...
Work Experience: A week at Rutland Water by Anna

Work Experience: A week at Rutland Water by Anna

The words: “Rutland Water” had been thrown around multiple times before I signed up for the work experience; whether it was relating to the beaches, sailing or the water park. I had driven past it numerous times, seeing a vast expanse of water and had walked down to the tip of the Hambleton Peninsula and back to Oakham. What I didn’t know at the time was that it hosted a nature reserve and how large it actually was. I discovered the work experience when I was given a pamphlet of work experience options during one tutorial period. I was immediately drawn in as I had already heard of the name numerous times and how much I enjoyed walking down the Hambleton Peninsula. Living in China for a few years, I realised how important it is to protect our natural environment. It was almost as if the job had my name on it, so I wrote an application and sent it in, crossing my fingers that I’d be picked as a volunteer on work experience. I was absolutely overjoyed when I got an email offering me a place. I started my work experience on Monday the 2nd of July at the Lyndon Visitor Centre. Here I initially worked at the cash register, selling tickets for the numerous people who had come to see and watch the ospreys. I worked with another girl on work experience called Helen who had similar interests with me and was super nice. I was surprised by how many people came in the visitor centre- around 40 people did. They ranged from young families who went...
Tree planting within Hambleton Wood

Tree planting within Hambleton Wood

A blog by Reserves Office Paul Trevor If you’ve visited Hambleton Wood recently, you might have noticed some changes. Over the course of this winter we have set about a programme of tree planting within Hambleton wood. We have planted up an area that was previously dominated by bracken with a mix of broadleaf trees including: oak, hazel, rowan, wild cherry, hawthorn, silver birch, goat willow, field maple and crab apple. This work will increase both the structural and species diversity of the area and provide future homes for a wealth of woodland wildlife. We have also been working in an area of coppice restoration and have re-stocked it with 300 hazel and 20 oaks. This work will ensure that the coppice coup develops a fantastically dense understorey which is suitable for a whole host of woodland birds. Both areas were funded by a very generous personal donation. They were planted out by our ever faithful volunteers and also by a group of patients from Arnold Lodge. This experience gave the patients, who suffer from various mental health issues, the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air, away from the more formal environment of the unit and the chance to build confidence in their ability to engage with...

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