Starting my traineeship in the middle of a pandemic felt like a step into the unknown. Although I know what the job entails in theory, lockdown and changing guidelines make it impossible to predict how much I will actually be able to do. Thankfully, my first month has still been busy and full of opportunities to get stuck in!
On my second day I visited my first habitat site; Raploch Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) pond restorations. SUDS pond are often considered to be of little value to wildlife as they tend to have poor water quality, but with a little work they can be transformed into excellent habitat for some of our hardier species. We removed excess overgrown reeds to create areas of open water, added native oxygenating plants to improve water quality, and created gently sloping edges to improve accessibility for wildlife. Good pond restorations also go beyond the ponds themselves; improved management of surrounding terrestrial habitat can further encourage and support wildlife.
Within my first few weeks I experienced as much as I could, including practical habitat works, pop-up, virtual and therapeutic wildlife gardening workshops, volunteer sessions, shadowing different team members, meeting everyone in the organisation (virtually), and even attending a social media training seminar. I also spent a lot of my time reading and learning as much as I could about amphibians, reptiles, and all things pond-related! Being surrounded by a knowledgeable and passionate team has helped a lot with this, and I feel very fortunate to be able to learn from them.
One of the jobs I am excited to take on is writing articles on “What our animals are doing this month”. Each month I will be writing about one of our amphibians or reptiles and sharing what they will be getting up to throughout that month. I am really excited to get stuck into this as it is a great way for me to get to know each species in more detail, and follow what our fascinating amphibians and reptiles are doing throughout the year!
My first month with Froglife has been busy, unpredictable, and most importantly fun! I have learned a vast amount already and I look forward to getting stuck in with more aspects of the Come Forth for Wildlife project in the next few months.