My volunteering diary 3 June

Monica with cow at Bog Meadows

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 Reserves team.

Bog Meadows

The cattle are back in Bog Meadows. These welcome friends are helping us to maintain the fields and keep them open. It’s nice to have a little stop when we are doing the litter pick to say ‘hello’. We’ve also been doing a bit of path edging this last couple of weeks, clearing and defining the borders between the grass and the path. 

Leave No Trace training

We completed the Leave No Trace training, an education program that promotes a responsible outdoor recreation ethics minimizing social and environmental impacts. We’ve learned the seven principles e.g. leave natural objects undisturbed or minimize the effects of fire.   

We also said goodbye to the nature skills trainees who have been accompanying us throughout these last months on the reserves. We will miss the good times we had with hem. They helped us a lot, especially the first weeks when we didn’t know where the tools were, or how the machines worked. 


The other day I was at Balloo Wetland Reserve helping one of the trainees, Mark, lay a drain, so that when it rains the water does not flood the path.  

It was also a day to do a species inventory at Balloo Woodland Reserve. I know it is usually a type of species that doesn’t arouse much interest, but I found three different types of slugs. Thanks to INaturalist I could identify them. Smooth Land Slug, Western Dusky Slug and the easier to remember, the Black Slug, black.  

We also counted the different types of trees and plants that we came across and I realised that I still have a lot to learn! 

Bumblebee training

Time has turned on our side, finally allowing us to do the bumblebee training at  Slievenacloy Nature Reserve. Katy showed us some of the books and resources that we can use to start with bumblebee identification. We found six different species of bumblebees! 

On the way home, waiting for the bus, we noticed that there were a lot of bumblebees just in front of us. The time, while we were waiting, we were able to catch and identify some of them! 

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.