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July Photo Fortnight! The Wildlife Skills Trainees favourite moments!

August 10, 2015

We thought we’d show you some pictures of what we trainees got up to at the end of the month! Spread across the county, we’ve all been getting stuck into our traineeships, and have already completed our first month with Dorset Wildlife Trust! Time really does fly when you’re having fun!



Amy with Oscar, a very friendly barn owl

Amy with Oscar, a very friendly barn owl – © Amy Brocklehurst

Sunday was spent volunteering at the Big Wild Chesil event, a fantastic opportunity for a Practical Conservation trainee to get some community engagement experience. My photo of the week is of myself alongside possibly my favourite guest; Oscar the barn owl, kindly brought along by Fancy’s Farm of Portland. This sweet little guy was so well behaved on only his third outing, surrounded by children and sea-shanty singers!


A very cute brown long-eared bat! - © Christina Bowdler

A very cute brown long-eared bat! – © Christina Bowdler

The last two weeks of July went by extremely quickly and every day brought something new to learn about or see. I went on my first bat survey with Amy over in West Dorset and saw several brown long-eared bats including one tiny baby which was amazing. Another new task I did was using the BCS mower in a beautiful little community orchard which has a large variety of tree and fruit species while another was bracken bashing, not only great fun but also a great work out! This was a brilliant day because it was really nice to meet several of the North Dorset volunteer work party and it was extremely satisfying to be able to see the difference you were making as the day progressed as well as being the day I got to see my first smooth snake. A second day of bracken bashing meant I got to practice my quad bike riding skills while towing a mechanical bracken basher but more excitingly I saw my first adder! This was one of the species that I had said, right from the start of my traineeship, I hoped to see so I was really excited even though I did nearly sit on her! The last week of July overall was amazing for wildlife sightings because I also saw a bittern, marsh harrier, several hobbies, grayling butterflies and an emperor hawk moth caterpillar. With the first month over and having been incredible I am eager to see what the next month will bring.

Christina ready to mow! - © Christina Bowdler

Christina ready to mow! – © Christina Bowdler


James, David, Michelle and Jack kitted out in waders! - © Jack Bedford

James, David, Michelle and Jack kitted out in waders! – © Jack Bedford

The last two weeks of July were very busy over here in East Dorset. Firstly, the whole team here at the Urban Wildlife Centre were hard at work preparing for our largest event of the year, Wild About Hengistbury. The event itself took place on Saturday 25th July, and was a huge success with over a thousand people in attendance, taking part in all the activities we and the other organisations attending had prepared and having a great time! The second week, I was doing lots of practical conservation work. On the Tuesday, I went out with the Green Team, our group of young volunteers, first to Troublefield, one of the reserves, to remove a couple of fallen trees from the fence line. Then we headed to the River Allen in Wimborne where we pulled Himalayan balsam, a beautiful but invasive plant which will out-compete our native flora, from the river banks. My photo of the week, however, comes from Wednesday, when we strayed into Christina’s Mid-Dorset territory to clear the Gussage stream with a team of volunteers from Bournemouth Water! It was a really successful day with a huge stretch of river cleared, and me, volunteers David and James, and outgoing trainee Michelle looked very “stylish” in our waders!



Sophie and Christina ready to meet all the visitors at Big Wild Chesil! - © Sophie Franks

Sophie and Christina ready to meet all the visitors at Big Wild Chesil! – © Sophie Franks

Big Wild Chesil was a fantastic event to be a part of! Christina and I spent the day getting very messy making badges, chalk drawing and encouraging everyone to have a go at hand painting our basking shark that will make an appearance at Weymouth carnival along with the fantastic umbrella jellyfish that were also created.

We also have a joint favourite photo to add in. At Big Wild Chesil, we posed with some great jellyfish costumes made by children to be used at Weymouth Carnival. They’re a really great idea and so easy to make, and it’s good fun too!

Jelly-fied Trainees! - © Amy Brocklehurst

Jelly-fied Trainees! – © Amy Brocklehurst


Keep a look out on this blog later in the week for a post about Jack and Sophie’s trip to Wiltshire for Forest School training!

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