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Weeks 1-3: Meetings & Making Notes

Posted: Monday 20th October 2014 by OliFoulds

Caterpillar in Derbyshire Saw some colourful wildlife on my first survey, Oli Foulds

To me it seems that the Trust’s mission is a difficult one: protecting nature while trying to involve as many people as possible in it.


What I did:

• met everyone and planned my work for the placement
• went on four vegetation surveys with a wildlife site officer
• read through planning applications and entered information onto a map using Mapinfo
• spent a day dry stone walling
• spent a day planting wildflowers in a wood
• produced maps of the badger vaccination project in Derbyshire using Mapinfo


Well that was a busy three weeks… Feels like I’ve had a pen and paper in my hands for the last 450 hours. I quickly realised in the first day that writing notes is something I will be doing a lot of – especially at this early stage. In front of me right now I have notes I’ve written reminding me to make notes about my other notes. There can’t be many jobs where your ‘to do list’ is a load of normal tasks like arranging meetings and reading survey reports interspersed with instructions like “find out what giant hogweed is” and “look up the distribution of the greater thorn-tipped longhorn beetle”.

I’ve now met most of the staff of the Trust and sorted out a few areas to get involved in. It’s been interesting to find out about the kind of work each department carries out. I’d only met the reserves team before I started this placement and so I already had a rough idea that they were in charge of running all the nature reserves, coordinating and leading volunteer work parties on the reserves and looking after the Trust’s livestock. The conservation team is instead involved with Derbyshire’s other areas of wildlife interest and the designation of Local Wildlife Sites. They also go through planning applications to check that the impact on wildlife has been properly assessed. The marketing and fundraising team have to find the money to allow the Trust to continue functioning as it does. The people engagement team are there to teach, inspire and involve people in Derbyshire’s wildlife. This is a hugely simplified description of what each department does but it gives you an idea! 

To me it seems that the Trust’s mission is a difficult one: protecting nature while trying to involve as many people as possible in it. To shut people out from nature in an attempt to protect it will only further distance us from our natural environment and reduce its value to us. On the other hand, encouraging everyone to visit every piece of wildlife-rich land as often as they can will destroy the most fragile habitats. We’re not exactly the gentlest species on the planet. There has to be a balance and that is why the interaction between the different departments is so important.

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