Somerset Wildlife Trust

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 September: Greetings, Ride Clearing and Chainsaws.

 15th Nov 2018

Hello to my fellow wildlife fans! Ever wondered what a day in the life of a Nature Reserves Trainee might intel? Well wonder no more… welcome to what is the inaugural monthly blog that will endeavour to provide a little in-sight into my time as one the Wild Paths Practical Conservation Trainees for Somerset Wildlife Trust. As this is the first blog, I’ll start by introducing myself and explaining exactly what the Wild Paths Traineeship is.

So, first things first, who am I… My name is Steve Naylor and I’ve been working alongside the Mendips Nature Reserve Team at Somerset Wildlife Trust since the beginning of September. I’ve always had a great love and appreciation for wildlife and the great outdoors, I believe that’s something everyone reading this will have in common. This is large in part why I decided to take up the traineeship. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to work alongside and be taught by some amazing and dedicated wildlife conservation experts within the Wildlife Trusts, it will also arm me with everything I need to begin a career protecting our wildlife for future generations to enjoy. I’m a firm believer that wildlife and the outdoors should be for everyone, for ever.

Untitled designNow, what is the Wild Paths Traineeship? Wild Paths is a beautiful program put together by the Wildlife Trusts and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (I cannot say thanks enough to HLF and the National Lottery Players, you make amazing things happen!). In short, it’s a program that provides training and education opportunities aimed at getting more people, from a diverse range of backgrounds into a conservation career. There are 5 Trusts involved, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Avon, each withtwo trainees.

And finally, what have I been up to in my first month? Where to begin… the beginning… yes, let’s start there. It started off by meeting all the staff at SWT, there’s a lot of them so it was a little full on, but they’re a fantastic bunch that I’m proud to work with. September is the month when we clear our rides (edges of paths and tracks) to push back invasive vegetation such as brambles and bracken. This encourages a more diverse mix of ground flora the following year. Fun fact, did you know that a touching canopy over a ride is great for dormice as they are brilliant tree climbers! During September I also did my chainsaw license, which forms part of the training provided by the traineeship. I put these new skills to the test felling some sycamore, which is an invasive species, at our Cheddar Wood Edge Reserve. Oh, and my first ever dormouse survey!Untitled design (3)

Spotted a pair of small coppers enjoying some
greater knapweed on one of our reserves ( see pictrue to the left). These are the guys we do our jobs for!

And here's me learning some lumberjack skills on my chainsaw course. I think that will do for the first month… it’s been an amazing month with so much I could talk about, I cannot wait to see what October has instore. Do check back next month to see what I got up to during October, I promise it will be less explaining and more wildlife orientated!
By for now and thanks for reading, Steve Snail (I’ll explain the name in next month’s instalment…).