February got off to a great start. When I moved to Somerset I gave myself the personal mission of seeing an otter. And on a day of practical work up at Westhay Moor Nature Reserve, less than a month into my traineeship, I was treated to my very first wild otter sighting! It was amazing to catch a glimpse of this rare mammal, even if only for a brief second- I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more!
I spent most of the month working with Routes to the River Tone. The project is drawing to a close so I was helping the team to prepare for and run the final week of events, held in February half term.
The week was a great success. It was wonderful to see so many families join us for bird box building, story time and the launch of our new story trail, which follows Ollie the Otter as he travels through Taunton looking for a new home.
The main finale event was a lantern parade through town. We worked with Fuse performance to run lantern making workshops with several local schools in the weeks leading up to half term. I went along to many of the workshops to talk to the pupils about the wildlife found here in Taunton. I was amazed by their knowledge, and that many of them had been lucky enough to see otters and kingfishers along the river!
Over 300 people joined us for the River of Light finale and it was incredible to see all the lanterns lit up on a beautiful February evening. Two processions started at different points in the town and met in Goodland Gardens, where we were treated to an amazing fire and light performance. It was the perfect end to the week and the project.
After all the excitement of half term, the rest of the month was mostly spent in the office planning educational visits and events for Naturally Healthy Month in May. I’ve got a busy few months coming up but am looking forward to lots of new challenges.