My volunteering diary 6 May 2021

ShoreNI survey at Whiterock Bay

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.

New week with the Nature Reserves Team

I started the week in Straidkilly, a magical woodland nature reserve. It’s crazy how quickly the reserves change during this season – there are some glades in the reserve where the bluebells have already blossomed. The paths that we cleared were full of garlic and if you go around the workshop in the office you will notice the strong smell of garlic. 

During lunch break, we ate while listening to the Willow Warblers singing! 

Straidkilly Nature Reserve

Straidkilly Nature Reserve 

Bird ID workshop

On Tuesday we were at Bog Meadows Nature Reserve doing a Bird ID workshop with Gemma. She is a Nature Skills Trainee that knows a lot about birds. Not only does she know how to identify them visually, but also by hearing their songs. We did part of the workshop in the classroom and after that, we bird watched around the nature reserve. 

That day Ive, one of my housemates and Living Landscape assistant at Ulster Wildlife, joined us. It’s nice to see different faces working with us in the Nature Reserves. After lunch we worked on clearing the paths in the reserve.  

Nature Recovery Networks project & Moyola Waterfoot Nature Reserve

Wednesday was my home working day. These last three weeks I have been helping Nina -the Nature Recovery Networks project coordinator- with the Nature Recovery Networks Northern Ireland Webinar Series. It’s been nice to learn how webinars work and are organized. I didn’t know there was a project like this that tries to connect the different nature spaces in Northern Ireland. 

Moyola Waterfoot is one of the nature reserves where I have spent the least time at, but we went there on Thursday. It was one of the days where I ended up the most tired, but I have to say that I had a really good time. The path was hidden under the grass, and we had to clear it with shovels. It also rained, hailed and the sun came out on the same day! 

Moyola Waterfoot Nature Reserve

Moyola Waterfoot Nature Reserve

ShoreNI survey

And Friday, YAY! On Friday I joined the Living Seas team for a ShoreNI survey at Whiterock Bay with Luisa (ESC volunteer) and Alesha (Living Seas trainee).  

These surveys are necessary to gather information on marine habitats and wildlife. We took pictures of all the wildlife we saw at low tide. Then, we uploaded them to INaturalist, a recording tool and spices identification mobile app.  

As you can see, I did a lot of different things this last week and I'm looking forward to lots of new training coming soon!  

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.