August has been a varied month, and my team has been juggling a range of activities in between holidays. While other members of the team were away I was given responsibility for running a pop-up wildlife gardening workshop at Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk. I’ve worked on a number of these events now but this was my first time delivering it independently, and it was nice to be able to take on the extra responsibility. It ended up being a very successful day with lots of people coming along to learn all about wildlife-friendly gardening and taking home fun activities!
This month I also received training in budget management and report-writing. Although this is a less exciting aspect of the job, it is an important skill to have and one that will benefit me further on in my career. All of these training and learning opportunities are part of what make this traineeship so valuable, and I’m very keen to learn as many new things as I can – even the things that aren’t as much fun!
I also gave another talk during one of our weekly, organisation-wide staff meetings. This time I chose to present on the problem of charisma bias in conservation. This is an important issue whereby conservation efforts and funding are biased towards the most ‘charismatic’ and popular species. This can cause big problems for endangered species that lack these charismatic traits, and can result in important keystone species being lost simply because they aren’t considered cute or exciting. It is also a very unscientific way of deciding where to focus resources in a sector that is already severely underfunded, which is very problematic. Charities such as Froglife which work to protect less charismatic species are therefore very important. There is not enough work going into protecting amphibians and reptiles, despite the fact that many of them are in decline, and some, such as adders, are often actively persecuted. This is one reason why I am proud to be working for an organisation such as Froglife doing such important work.