Although most of my work is still being done from my home office, this month has started to pick up as we have been able to run a couple of outdoor sessions. It’s been great to get out and deliver these activities, and I’m looking forward to running more sessions over the next few months.
My first in-person activity of 2021 was a volunteer session at one of our habitat sites, Hallglen Policy Bing. We took a small group of socially-distanced volunteers to sow wildflower seeds around the three ponds we previously created at the site. The ponds are very open and exposed, so the wildflower areas will create important cover and shelter, as well as attracting insects which provide a source of food for our reptiles and amphibians.
Later in the month I also helped to deliver my first arts and crafts mapestry session at a local primary school. The aim of the mapestry is to create a 12-panel map tapestry depicting the local heritage of the Forth Valley throughout the course of a year. The session was a lot of fun, with the kids getting stuck in and coming up with some incredible fabric work to represent local heritage through their eyes. Our textile artist, Maija, will later put all of their pieces together to form the March panel of our tapestry.
This month I also attended Froglife’s Virtual Wildlife Mortality on Roads Conference. This was a fantastic event with speakers from around the world talking about the issue of wildlife road mortality and discussing solutions to protect amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife. Although lockdown has its many disadvantages, it also gave rise to this opportunity for a virtual zoom event bringing together speakers and audiences globally to tackle an important conservation issue, and I’m pleased I was able to attend and learn so much.
Lastly, one of the perks of this traineeship is the generous training budget. With this budget I am able to take external training courses of my choosing which are relevant to my role and future career. This month I started my first training course on Project Management in Wildlife Conservation where I am gaining key project management skills and networking with a number of fellow conservationists. This is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to selecting more useful courses to attend as part of my training.