My name is Georgia, and although my placement with Froglife was not an option I had picked, their charity surrounded British wildlife and reflected my choices to do with animals. I didn’t expect to be completely happy with what I got. However, I was surprisingly interested in what they offered. The people I worked with were friendly and helpful when I asked questions, and my employer aimed to have me outdoors as much as possible so I wasn’t cooped up in the office. I’m usually the kind of person to stay indoors no matter how nice the weather is, but the days I spent working outside were some of the best!
On my first day I was in the office, using a computer to transfer information from forms into a database. I made my way through about half of them and left the rest to finish on another day. After my lunch break, I sorted through children’s drawings of reptiles, amphibians and wildlife to scan into the computer and then spent the rest of the day editing conference videos to be uploaded to YouTube at a later time.
I had to arrive early to work on Tuesday because I was travelling to a school in Whittlesey with Cat and Michelle. They gave talks to Year Fives and Sixes and I walked around the room helping them make their model wildlife gardens. On Wednesday I could have gone with Cat and Michelle to help them with ‘Swimming with Dragons’ pool games they were organising, but I wouldn’t have fit in the car with all of the pool floats, so I stayed in the office and finished editing the conference videos.
On Thursday, I travelled to Boardwalks Nature Reserve with Stuart. For the first half of the day he showed me around, pointing out the different ponds and he even caught a baby smooth newt (an eft) to show me. It was a lot smaller than I originally thought newt efts were – only the size of one section of your finger. After lunch we picked up someone else to help us cut some of the grass. Most of it was extremely overgrown but we managed to cut some paths and we raked the grass into piles for wildlife to live in.
On Friday, I travelled with Michelle to a Nature Reserve to be shown around. We were supposed to be finding a pond in the woods there but on the way we were checking under mats that had been left as places for reptiles to sunbathe. We didn’t find the pond, but on the way back we saw an adder curled up in some grass.
The next week on Monday and Tuesday I went to Hampton with Cat and Michelle to do activities with Year Seven students. The children learnt about amphibians and reptiles and then were separated into three groups and each group took turns trying bug hunting, pond dipping and tree measuring. Although it was cooler under the trees, the heatwave wasn’t pleasant and the children were eager to get back in to school.
Tuesday’s Year Sevens were a lot more interested in Froglife. They found twice as many species of insects as the first group, winning the competition between them. The heat was more bearable and there were less annoying insects like mosquitoes, which may have contributed to a better day.
On Wednesday, I travelled with Stuart to an allotment and a community garden. In the allotment, we gently raked some of the algae on the surface of the pond to the edge to leave some clear areas where sunlight and oxygen could get through. Then we crouched near the disturbed algae and picked out the newt efts that had been raked up with it. Altogether, we found 30 smooth newts and 15 great crested newts, which were a lot larger than the smooth newts. At the community garden, we picked up dead algae around a pond and then we drove back to Froglife for lunch. I scanned some drawings of reptiles I had done into a computer and wrote social media captions for them, then wrote more captions including facts for pictures of wildlife already on the computer.
On Thursday I spent the first half of the day writing my blog post as it was my second-to-last day. Later I was outside unscrewing some screws from a bench that had to be fixed. Then I made a lizard from coloured pipe cleaners to go with a frog and a great crested newt that had already been made. After I finished it I took some pictures – here’s my lizard:
For the first half of Friday I travelled to Boardwalks Nature Reserve with Stuart again to put down more mats for reptiles to sunbathe on. We dug holes in the ground to install wooden posts that the mats were attached to, but the ground was very hard and dry from the heat and lack of rain. This made it very hard to dig, so we only got 4 posts installed before going back for lunch. Then I finished writing the rest of my blog post!
I know I will miss my time at Froglife and the people I’ve met there. It was definitely a positive work experience and although I know a lot of work environments are different from this one, I enjoyed the insight into what it can be like.