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Volunteer Blog 7th-11th June 2010

June 30, 2010

Claire, Student Placement, Bournemouth Uni.

7th June

Four new volunteers arrived for their first day working with DWT. Starting something new is exciting and after introductions to the team we were given an idea of the kinds of things we would be doing. The variety of tasks is great; everything from fencing to surveying.


So off we went to our first task for DWT – fencing an area that has been acquired by the trust, Bugden Meadow. The area is being fenced to allow grazing of cattle which will hopefully restore the site to the former state – a meadow full of native wild flowers.


Fencing this area is an important step in the recovery of the site, it is also hard work. A great day was had by all the volunteers, although none of us will ever be able to look at a fence without appreciating the amount of work that has gone in to it again.

8th June

Day 2 for the new volunteers. Today’s mission – to remove pine saplings from the Higher Hyde Nature Reserve. This task is very important to heathland areas as removing saplings prevents shading out of other vegetation characteristic to the heath and important to the wildlife dependant on the heathland habitat.


While removing invasive pines on the heathland the volunteer team were able to see and identify deer species and plant species with the help of Sam – DWT’s volunteer group instructor. Happy that we had cleared as much pine as we were able to the group moved on to East Stoke Fen to look for another invasive species, Skunk Cabbage.

At the Fen the group were able to see and identify a Raft spider and a Palmate Newt as well as numerous larvae. Sam explained the oddly orange coloured water in the stream running through the site. Ochre is a micro-organism which grows in iron rich environments. It was not the water which was orange but the micro-organism which had grown on every available surface in the stream. The group located one skunk cabbage plant, which will hopefully be removed before it is able to disperse seeds.
9th June

Today the group went back to Bugden to continue working on the fence. We were also able to take the opportunity to identify the native plant species growing at the site and spotted a common lizard scuttling through the grass.

Using a scythe, members of the group removed a large patch of Bracken and nettles from the meadow. Cutting down unwanted species with a scythe was strangely therapeutic!


The fence seemed to progress a lot faster than it had on Monday as the new volunteers had gained confidence in their new found skills.

10th June

Today was an amazing day for the DWT volunteers! Yesterday a moth trap was set up in the outside area and this morning we all had the opportunity to discover how diverse the Moth family is. There was a huge amount of Moths found in the trap. Using books the staff team, volunteers and local enthusiasts identified the species that had been captured.


When the group were finished with the moths we were told the mission for the morning – Dartford Warbler survey on Upton Heath. This was a fantastic opportunity to see not just warblers but several species that can be hard to find in the wild. We split into smaller groups to survey an area per group. The group I was working with were lucky enough to find a Smooth snake, several Slow Worms, a Nightingale, and a few Stone Chats as well as a Dartford Warbler sighting.


After lunch Sam gave the volunteer group the chance to look at various deer antlers and skulls in order to establish and understand the difference between the different species of deer found in the UK. The group then loaded up the land rover and went of to Corfe Mullen Meadow to muck out the cow shed, not glamorous but necessary, and with a group of fun, friendly people it didn’t seem like a chore at all!!

11th June

Today a group of volunteers went to remove Ragwort for an area that is grazed by horses. Ragwort is toxic to horses and some other species of livestock, so it is important to remove this plant from areas which are being grazed. The ponies were very friendly, but a little naughty, with one making a break for freedom through the open gate!

After the field was cleared of Ragwort the group went over to another reserve to check on the DWT cows. Thankfully they all stayed where they were meant to. Some amazing things were spotted on this reserve. Here they are…..


Every day this week I have learned something new and done something I haven’t done before. If you are interested in conservation DWT is defiantly the place to be!

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 4, 2010 10:08 pm

    Great blogging Claire, and good to see that you are all enjoying your time – and learning plenty!
    Remind me to show you how to put captions on your pictures for next time..

    Keep up the great work!

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