If you have been watching Froglife through Facebook or Twitter you would have seen my news on work experience. My name is Tom and I have been into all creatures, big and small for as long as I can remember. When I got this placement for work experience, I was thrilled because this is the area of expertise I have wanted to go into for a long time. Getting to know all the people here at Froglife, learn from them and see how much enthusiasm they have for their job is very inspiring. The best thing about this experience was the variety of all the different activities I took part in.
On Monday, I had my induction, where I met everybody and learned about what they do. Then I went out to the Olive Branch community gardens to make baked potatoes on a bonfire and find frogs with students from Thomas Deacon School.
Tuesday, I surveyed a recently built pond for invertebrate life and then went on a snake hunt at Hampton.
Wednesday involved spray-painting practice for a mural at Olive Branch then strawberry picking with another boy at the Green Backyard.
Thursday was the best day of the week, as I went on a Butterfly survey. The weather was against us but we still managed to find a lot of butterflies. Then we went out for another snake hunt (my colleagues were determined that I would see an adder before I go back to school).
Friday I went to Kings Dyke in Whittlesey with a young man to see the signets and walk on the nature trail.
After a weekend to refresh myself, I came back to a busy day on Monday. In the morning I was roasting marshmallows and catching frogs at the Olive Branch community garden with a boy from Heltwate school. Then it was to Green backyard for afternoon of pizza making with the Thomas Deacon group. Finally, I was catching frogs again and picking vegetables with a girl.
Tuesday I was making a bird box in the workshop with a young offender and the finished product looked good.
Wednesday, a day off! This gave me time to catch up and break up the 5 day working week.
Thursday, out on the butterfly survey again. This time the weather was really good so we saw literately hundreds of butterflies! Then we were out for a snake hunt again and I finally saw my first adder, at last! And there were two of them, both hiding under the same mat, what a cool thing to see.
Friday, my last day in the office. I’m sad to know I am going. I am spending the whole day in the office, wrapping things up and learning about people’s jobs. As celebration of the whole work experience we went out for a pub lunch.
Tomorrow, I will be helping out at Nene Park Academy for a family event which will involve pond dipping, hook the frog and lots of information.
I have enjoyed these two weeks so much and I hope to continue this connection with Froglife. My favourite parts of the experience was the butterfly surveys, because I like all the practical stuff rather than sitting in the office.
As a little side project, I have been studying some labyrinth spiders (agelena labyrinthica) that I have collected from Hampton reserve. I am comparing this species to the house spiders (Tegenaria Duellica) because they are both in the same family (agelenidae). This includes looking at behavioural differences, webbing, reproduction etc. This is one of the multiple projects that I have done with spiders and not the last!
I look forward to continuing my work with Froglife and do more volunteering work to broaden my skills, knowledge and experience. I cannot thank Froglife enough for this opportunity they have given me.