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Working With The Dorset Wildlife Trust

April 7, 2014

Ciara Askin, 17. Sparsholt College Student.

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Starting March 17th I spent three weeks on a work placement with the Dorset Wildlife Trust based at Beacon Hill in Corfe Mullen. My first impression of the team was that they were very welcoming and friendly, which put me at ease and made my time with them more enjoyable.

For the first two weeks I was mostly involved with various work parties carrying out habitat management and burning the waste on a big fire. I gained lots of experience with fire starting and control which is beneficial to me because I’d like to go on to become a ranger, and part of the job involves being able to do these. I have also had the opportunity to practice some other skills, such as crosscutting awkward trees with a chainsaw, clearing paths with a brushcutter and fixing a broken fence at Troublefield.

Ciara chainsawing on Upton Heath

Ciara chainsawing on Upton Heath

Working with the volunteers and local college and university groups was great because I didn’t realise before how habitat management and other practical tasks could be used to get so many people from different backgrounds involved in conservation and how being outdoors and doing an activity can really benefit people, such as giving retired people something to do and helping mentally ill people get better.

The main habitat around East Dorset is heathland, which is very rare and special. While working with the Dorset Wildlife Trust I have seen a female adder, two greater spotted woodpeckers and a sundew, all of which I had never seen before. I have also learned from the Urban Heaths Partnership that loads of heath fires are started every year and their goal is to raise awareness of heathland crimes and to educate people on how important and rare heathland is.

Ciara Askin reseeding clay pit with heather on Upton Heath

Ciara reseeding clay pit with heather on Upton Heath

Overall, my time with the Dorset Wildlife Trust was a fantastic experience and I would like to work with them again in the future. I feel that the work they are doing is very worthwhile and I would recommend a placement with them to anyone else who is interested in a career in conservation.

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Learn more about getting involved with conservation at our Volunteering HQ.

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