Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Phil Bruss

My name is Phil and I’m the Practical Conservation Trainee for South Somerset, based in Bradford on Tone.

IAdam have a background in engineering, with which I persevered for a decade before deciding that the state of our nature could not be ignored, and that I could not live with myself if the UK lost its biodiversity and I had stood idly by. At this point I jumped the engineering ship and briefly worked as a fundraiser for RSPB.

After leaving RSPB I volunteered on various projects around the South West until I saw the Trust’s trainee positions open up. With little hope of success I applied, and proved that life can always surprise you.

I will be working with the South Somerset reserves team in practical conservation to maintain the wonderful grassland that we have in this part of the world. I will be working to ensure the landscape isn’t taken over by the persistent thistles and brambles that want to colonise the bare ground and prevent other species of wildflower establishing. But most of all, I will be learning: learning what makes the ecosystem tick and how to best manage it, how the relationships with our graziers and surrounding landowners work, and how to maintain the most efficient, sharpest and cleanest fleet of brushcutters and chainsaws this county has ever seen! I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the year, and feel privileged to have been given such a fantastic opportunity.

Outside of work I can mostly be found still looking at nature, and passing on what I learn here to my wife, who is a constant support to me by being every bit as interested in nature as I am!

Keep up with my journey on Twitter:  Social-Media---T @SWT_PhilBruss



Phil's Blog

Phil 1So we arrive at April, the month destined to be my last with Somerset Wildlife Trust. You see, in the middle of the month I secured a six month position with National Trust, working primarily in the Quantock hills. As a result, this is the last blog I’ll be publishing, which is a bit sad.

bluebellSomething has happened on our reserves. I’ve been charting it gradually over the last few months, but this month it has been moving slightly quicker. This something, this great annual occurrence, this monumental event taking place once each voyage round our local star, is the arrival of spring

Phil WaxwingsFirst and foremost we need to address last month’s cliffhanger. At the end of January I went to Devon to visit Tom, one of Devon Wildlife Trust’s trainees. At the beginning of this month, he came to see us. The watery precipitation that had hampered our progress in the more southern county continued, though mercifully with breaks, meaning there was slightly less cause to dry clothing by the fire. Rest assured however that there was still cause.

P2January has been one of those months. One of those months where you extend a hand to greet it only to find that it’s already gone.
The majority of the reserves work has been coppicing, a process that I’ve described before, and could do again, but I think it would show a lack of imagination.

cobweb1 resizedAnd I’m back, happy new year to all! I trust the festive season brought all the traditional bloating and borderline unacceptable alcohol consumption that the yuletide spirit demands? And now, to confuse matters, I am obliged to step back a month.

Phil3So, after the frantic dash that was October, November seems something of a downturn. The diary has been sparser, the wildlife has been sparser, and it seems the number of days I’ve been onto reserves has been sparser.
The main reason for this is the change of season. It’s very noticeable that many of our species are going dormant. The country lanes no longer have bats wheeling across them.

fungusOctober has always been one of my favourite times of the year. The trees and hedgerows are dripping with fruit, the autumn bird migration is in full swing, and the fruiting bodies of fungus push their way up from beneath the soil

Phil1September arrives, and, as I write this, prepares to vanish into distant memory. This marks me being a quarter of the way through the year already. Which is a little scary. Still, all the more reason to embrace the time I have.

Phil Aug 1Roll up, roll up to the second of my blog entries, covering a month that, which finished before I really noticed it had started. I have however managed to admire the heady days that the end of summer brings, mainly because the summer has not, for once, been raining all over them.

Photo 2 - PhilSo here it is - a new beginning! My opportunity to live the dream has started; I can now shine in a new role that interests me and get great job satisfaction and achievement at the end of every day!