Stirling National Nature Reserve Team
After a year and nine months my time within the Stirling NNR Team is sadly coming to an end. From starting as a SRUC Student placement for a year to then becoming a Reserve Officer for 9 months, it has been decided that my short term contract won’t be extended and my time with Stirling NNR must come to an end.
Publishing my last blog post for “2 Bogs a swamp and some islands” I thought it was best to share my highlights that I will cherish for many years to come. Out of the year and 9 months I have only had one dull day, so this might take a while! Bear with me, I have narrowed it down to the top 10 with a lot of pictures!
10) Watching the White -tailed sea Eagle fly over Flanders Moss with SRUC Students whilst standing on the viewing tower.
9) Appreciating each day
8) Chainsawing on Flanders Moss – I don’t think anyone has an idea on how hard this task is apart from the NNR team. The PPE clothing, once wet, weighed just over 5kg at the end of a day! That’s only the boots and trousers. Then you’ve got to take into account the weight of the jackets, bag, water, lunch, machine and the fuel.
7) Working within the SNH Stirling office – this office is very social. They have morning and afternoon tea break together and hold the best pot luck lunches to be found anywhere! There are very many great bakers within this office. It’s great to be in the office when one of these is being held.
6) Working with Blackridge Primary School on a camera trap competition: the children are very intelligent and love finding out what their local village has to offer.
5) My favourite phrase out on site ” Oh, what’s that?” blurts out of my mouth before I take a good look. This gets Dave’s hopes up that I have seen something rather exciting, yet with his expertise tells me it’s just another heron/buzzard/gull.
4) Becoming the Adder queen! After being shown an Adder when they first come out of hibernation, my eyes were always on the hunt looking out for them. I managed to share the experience with visitors at Flanders Moss. One thing I definitely do is watch where I sit on Flanders Moss in case any adders get just a bit too close for comfort.
3) Being mentored by Kevin, Steve & Dave! I honestly can’t think of any days which haven’t been a pleasure working beside these gentlemen. They have the ‘patience of saints’ as my mum and dad would say.
2) Running volunteer events, mostly every Wednesday I got to spend time with some incredible people out on the reserves. I got to know them personally and it was very emotional saying farewell on yesterdays event. It is a shame that for now this is coming to an end for everyone.
1) Finding the first ever Fresh Water Sponge at Loch Lomond, NNR, being able to write a report and organize a workshop teaching people how to identify them.
You might be wondering what happened on my only dull day with the Stirling NNR team – and that was the day I was told that my contact wouldn’t be extended. Being 28 year old, I have never had to experience leaving a job that I love and accept that some things are out of my control. The emotions are mixed between being upset, angry, proud and happy.
The happiness comes from securing a seasonal job within the Loch Leven, NNR Team. I am excited about where the next 6 months will take me, what I will learn and experiencing what it is like not having to drive many miles from the office to the workshop then to site.
The proudness comes from everything I have achieved and learned. This is purely down too having great mentors: Dave Pickett, Kevin McCulloch & Stephen Longster. They taught me well, they strengthen my knowledge over many fields and gave me great advice. (Never part from your lunch and never do something risky on a Friday)! I have laughed a lot with them and shared many experiences with them. I can’t thank them enough.
I also can’t thank the volunteers enough, working along side them each Wednesday has honestly been the highlight of my week. David McMillian, David McCulloch, David James, Ralph Brook-fox, Andrew Sinclair, Ann White, Liz Walker, John Smillie, John McCready, Stewart Corbett, Georgia Hancock, Amber Jardine, Nicola Howie, Connie Fairbairn, Darcy Crowther, Kerry Greg and David Eastwood. Thanks again for attending many volunteer events, the sites are not the easiest to work on and I appreciate everything that you have done.