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The Legend Begins…

April 3, 2011

By Becky

Skills For The Future

Welcome to a whole new strand of the blog. On the 1st February 2011 4 budding young people started out on a year’s Conservation Skills Training Program. Over the course of the year we will learn a massive amount of new skills that people wanting to get a career in conservation will need, from chain sawing to lambing, and from leading guided walks to surveying.  So of course this will inevitably lead to many many exciting blogs. But first we should introduce ourselves:

From left to right: Megan, Jess, Becky, John

During the first couple of weeks we have been focusing on getting to know each other, the DWT staff and reserves. Discovered that we must eat doughnuts at least once a week, and that we are very good at shopping; we’ve been shopping for hand tools, new waterproofs (as we discovered our existing ones weren’t great), new boots, chainsaws and PPE (protective personal equipment)…… stay tuned for adventures galore.

As part of the putting up the 42 to do signs, Jess and Becky were sent off on a mini adventure of their own. People thought they wouldn’t succeed, but they proved everyone wrong. The challenge was to go and put up one of the 42 to Do signs at Kingbarrow Quarry reserve on Portland. The new trainees have been doing this on many of the reserves, but this reserve proved most challenging as when we previously visited it, we found that there were no wooden signs to attach the signs to, and it wasn’t possible to hammer it into the stone sign.

So Jess and Becky got sent back to Portland with a wooden post and a variety of digging implements. They quickly found out why the signs already there were put onto big stone rocks – it was a quarry so spades weren’t the ideal tools for digging holes, and they thought more industrial sized equipment would be better.

But because everyone thought that they’d fail, the girls of course were determined to finish it. It was tough going, but slowly and surely a hole through the chalk and clay was dug, using a combination of breaking up the massive rocks with the large metal bar and excavating with the rabbiting shovel (although no mention of the name of this tool was used whilst there, due to locals not liking rabbits).

We wouldn't stop till we'd finished.

Eventually (well quite quickly we thought considering the geology) the signpost was in, and firmly rooted in, to make sure that it would be going no where in a hurry, especially as it can get very windy on the top of Portland.


Finally all that was left to do was the easy bit – nailing the sign to the signpost and attaching the punch. Success!

Showing the boys how its done

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