My volunteering diary 20 May 2021

Fencing training 

Being a volunteer with Ulster Wildlife is a big adventure: you never know what’s going to happen, and you have to be ready for everything. Join the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteers' weekly adventures, narrated by an ESC from the Natures Reserve team.

Training, training and more training!

These last two weeks, we've done a lot of training with the Nature Reserves Team. There are lots of topics in the world of nature conservation and we’ve been introduced to a few of them. We have worked at some of the nature reserves as well.  

We attended the "Identification of Invasive and Injurious species" training at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve with Lantra Awards. It’s important to control and eradicate non-native invasive species because they are considered one of the most important causes of biodiversity loss, endangering native species. Some of them are found at our natures reserves, such as Himalayan Balsam, Japanese knotweed, and Spanish Bluebell.

Unfortunately, the bumblebee training had to be cancelled due to the weather, but we did the dragonfly training on Friday at Balloo Wetland and Balloo Woodland Nature Reserves. Katy Bell, Senior Conservation Officer, taught us all about the dragonflies and damselflies that we can find here, in Northern Ireland.  I didn’t know anything about dragonflies and it was nice to learn the basics on how to identify them. We couldn’t see any of them because it’s a bit early in the year, but we found some damselfly larvae and great diving beetles in the ponds! 

Mapping wildlife habitats

We also attended the 'Phase 1 Habitat Survey' training. This is a system for mapping wildlife habitats and we learnt about some of the types of grass, rush and sedges that we have at Slievenacloy Nature Reserve

Habitat Survey Training

Habitat Survey Training

Fencing Course

This last training course on fencing will be very useful for the following weeks, as there’s a lot of work to do at Slievenacloy Nature Reserve. It was nice to learn how to repair a fence and put it into practice.  

Fencing Course, Slievenacloy Nature Reserve

Fencing Course, Slievenacloy Nature Reserve

Getting down to work

But don’t forget that we also have a lot of work to do on our Nature Reserves every week. We wood chipped a lot this last week at Balloo and Straidkilly Nature Reserves. One of the nicest things to do at the nature reserves though, is to plant native wildflowers and that´s what we also did –we planted some primroses!

Discovering snails

I'm going to end this blog with a picture of a Common Door Snail I spotted at Straidkilly Nature reserve! I don’t know why, but I like snails, and this is one of the most different looking ones I've seen.

Common Door Snail (c) Monica Abaurrea

Common Door Snail (c) Monica Abaurrea

About the programme

The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) scheme offers young volunteers from European countries the opportunity to work with Ulster Wildlife for 12 months, with placements within our Nature Reserves, Living Landscapes and Fundraising and Communications teams.