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Fresh Faces

March 12, 2014

Across the varied landscapes of Dorset, some fresh new faces have appeared in the Dorset Wildlife Trust. From the wild and dramatic coast at Chesil, to the island beauty of Brownsea, and into the softer lush hills at Kingcombe, the most recent intake of Skills For The Future trainees are deep into our training curve.

With the basics covered as a whole group, including the usual induction, Health and Safety, and a First Aid qualification, we have each been getting to grips with the niche training role at our local centre. Whether it’s been learning to lead work parties, taking part in survey work or engaging visitors at a centre, I know that every one of us is thoroughly enjoying our role.

Adding fences and fresh gravel to the tern islands at Brownsea

Adding fences and fresh gravel to the tern islands at Brownsea

As I write, our first month in the traineeship has drawn to a close and we’re starting into the second month, so I thought that it was high time to introduce ourselves to the blogosphere.

Andy Fear

AndyFrom a background in carpentry, specialising in traditional boat building methods, Andy studied natural history part-time and volunteered with DWT at Upton Heath, before being asked to volunteer at Brownsea Island. He is based at Brownsea Island with the most practical-focussed trainee role, as well as survey work and visitor engagement. His interests are in dragonflies, butterflies and moths, and heathland / calcareous grassland habitats.

Highlights so far: fencing and gravelling the tern islands, and seeing his first Glaucous Gull.

Favourite biscuit/cake: chocolate hob nob.

Chloë Goddard

ChloeFrom the beginning, Chloë has lived her life outdoors, whatever the weather. Whilst studying, she realised that she had a keen desire to give something back, particularly through giving young people the chance to get outside. She is continuing this in her trainee role at Kingcombe Meadows where she is training in environmental education, especially in Forest School sessions.

Highlights so far: Forest School sessions, climbing trees and seeing a variety of animals (including bats, red squirrels, badgers and fawns).

Favourite biscuit/cake: Maybe chocolate tiffin, or carrot cake, or red velvet cake.

Sarah Hodgson

SarahWorking in the local tourism industry has given Sarah a great understanding of and appreciation for the local area. During this time, she developed a keen interest in the environment and began volunteering for DWT as a Marine Warden at Kimmeridge. She is interested in marine wildlife and birds. Along with community engagement, the surveying work for wildlife will be the focus for her role at Kimmeridge.

Highlights so far: Discover Seashore Wildlife Event (rockpooling) at Kimmeridge, the cetacean and Seabird Surveyor Course at Chesil.

Favourite biscuit/cake: not too fussy, but chocolate caramel digestives probably.

Sarah Hudson

Sarah HudIn addition to studying, Sarah has also volunteered in a wide range of roles including decoding bee waggle dances (!), a Youth Ranger with Sussex WT, beach volunteering with Slapton Ley FSC, site management with Paignton Zoo and heath lobelia count with Devon WT. She is especially interested in trees and their associated wildlife; (e.g. fungi, bats and owls), and gaining experience from her base at Brooklands in practical and survey work.

Highlights so far: seeing lesser horseshoe bats, working on different reserves, visiting Kimmeridge.

Favourite biscuit/cake: ALL (capital letters intended), but if pushed, maybe chocolate hob nobs?

Lorraine Isgar

LorraineHaving grown up on a farm, Lorraine has always been aware of our environment and the role we have in managing it. Growing up, she became even more interested to learn about the natural world and studied geography. Her particular interest is in developing her practical skills from her dual bases of both Brooklands and Lorton Meadows, where she is working with voluntary groups, childrens’ activities and learning new skills such as GIS.

Highlights so far: everyday, it just keeps getting better!

Favourite biscuit/cake: chocolate hob nobs

Sam Manning

SamSam has been working towards a career in nature conservation since day 1. As a kid he wanted to grow up and be part of restoring and rewilding our natural ecosystems, and be on the frontline for encouraging greater nature conservation in our society. His main interest is in trees and woodland, primarily ancient woodland. Based at the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath, his role focuses on heathland habitat management and engaging the local community.

Highlight so far: learning how to fell the 30ft pines that grow on Upton Heath, and planting trees.

Favourite biscuit/cake: bourbon biscuits (preferably the giant ones)

Jess Mead

JessWith marine voluntary experience around the world, from coral reefs in Madagascar to the eco-friendly scuba diving in the Philippines, and back to our Chesil Beach Centre with the sustainable seafood campaign, Jess is probably our most marine-focussed trainee. As predicted, her main interest is the sea – being in, on or under it and learning all about it! Based at Kimmeridge, she’ll be gaining experience in marine surveying and community engagement.

Highlights so far: meeting lots of likeminded people and planning personal projects involving marine sightings and litter recording.

Favourite biscuit/cake: really not fussy, except the malted milk ones!

Social media: @jessmeadmarine

Ali Quinney

AliSince Ali began weekend volunteering whilst working in insurance and investment banking, she has been on a whirlwind of progression. From horticulture and wildlife watching, then into a rainforest conservation internship, followed by volunteering  for DWT and Skomer Island. She has worked for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and is training as a bird ringer for BTO. In addition, she has recently qualified as a surveyor for MARINElife. She is based at Brooklands, perfect for her interests in river and wetlands, and not too far away for her coastal, marine and birds work.

Highlights so far: practical task days with volunteers and GIS mapping.

Favourite biscuit/cake: hardest question of all, but she does love a rocky road.

Social media: @ali_quinney 


Megan Shersby

MeganComing from an animal care background, Megan realised that she wanted to shift her focus to ecology and community engagement after a placement year in environmental education with the Field Studies Council, and voluntary work with the RSPB, Vincent Wildlife Trust and the Dwarf Mongoose Research Project (South Africa). Her main interests are mammals, marine wildlife and moths. She is based at the Chesil Beach Centre, where her training is primarily in community engagement.

Highlights so far: engaging visitors (particularly children), rockpooling at Kimmeridge and seeing so many new species (especially the red squirrels at Brownsea!)

Favourite biscuit/cake: chocolate fingers or jammie dodgers … or fruit pie … or maybe scones?

Social media: @MeganShersby,

As you can see, there are a diverse range of roles across the traineeship programme with a different focus for each person. We are all absolutely loving the experience so far, as Lorraine said, “it just keeps getting better!” To paraphrase a recent conversation between myself and Sarah Hudson, we don’t get why people complain about Mondays and going back to work, because we love what we’re doing!

We hope that you enjoy reading about our training over the next year and that we see you around, whether it’s at a volunteer work party or maybe an event! 

Marine wildlife ID training at Kimmeridge

Marine wildlife ID training at Kimmeridge.       Photo: Megan Shersby

Written by Megan Shersby (Chesil)

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