My volunteering diary 25 March 2021

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.
After having introduced all the ESC volunteers in the last blog, it's time to explain what we are doing here. What is a week like as a volunteer in the Nature Reserves team? Let’s see!

We started the week in Bog Meadows nature reserve with Eduardo, Deborah (Community Engagement Officer), and one of the trainees, Ricky. First, we walked around the reserve picking up litter – you would be surprised by the amount and variety of things we find each week.  

After a bit of a litter lift, we were ready to put on our super swimsuits (waders) to clean one of the streams that the Rivers Agency cleared a few weeks ago. We finished the day by wood chipping the remaining branches in the reserve.

Tuesday was time for Slievenacloy nature reserve with Ronald (Nature Reserves Officer) and two other trainees, Shannon and Karen. We repaired the banks, chipped and put the gorse, that was cut previous weeks ago, into drag bags.  

Wednesday was a special day because we had a photography course at Bog Meadows with Ronald. It was a rainy day, but that did not stop us from having a good time taking pictures of the wildlife! After lunch, we finished what we started on Monday, with the swimsuits (waders) on again –time to go to the streams! 

Thursday was Straidkilly, one of my favourite nature reserves, to remove invasive species. You get distracted for a moment and you already have an entire area covered with invasive species! We removed sycamores, gooseberry and pheasant berry.  

In this picture Ryan is not hiding from us, he is removing gooseberry! 

Straidkilly Nature Reserve

And today, it´s time to put on paper what we have done this last week and share it with you. This is what a week in the Nature Reserves team looks like! Crazy, right? Every week is a new adventure and you never know what you are going to find. Rain, sun, wind, birds, mammal tracks, insects, plants or trees – we are ready for everything! 

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.