My Work Experience Placement with NWT 10

Well this is it, my placement with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust has come to an end. It’s going to be hard to re-adjust to sitting through lectures instead of surveying for water voles or putting up fences. For my last blog I thought I would go through a few of my favourite moments with the Trust.
Red squirrel - Joel Ireland

Image by: Joel Ireland

Out of all the different projects that I have been lucky enough to work on, my personal favourite has been helping out the Restoring Ratty team with the reintroduction of the water vole. The highlight of the project was helping out with the June release where around 240 voles were released to take the total to over 1200 water voles released in Kielder. Water voles are fairly elusive creatures so it was good to see one up close, it also meant I could finally tell my parents that I had seen a water vole! As I had also helped trap voles in the North Pennines, visited the breeding centre in Devon and spent the year monitoring for previous signs of voles, it was good to see the final stage of the process.

As I have been job shadowing Dan Chapman for two days a week we have done an incredible amount of different tasks in all-weather, from having snow on the ground barely being able to feel our fingers to baking in the sunshine - using a winch to remove old tree stumps was a highlight! At Kielder Waterside all of the work we did in the wildlife garden, such as making a new stone wall (still ongoing), installing a new pond and re-weaving the dead hedge, were all great tasks to be a part of. I was also able to lead volunteer tasks for Dan which have greatly improved my confidence. 

Throughout the spring I was lucky enough to help Red Squirrels Northern England out with their annual monitoring. This mainly involved putting out numerous camera traps accompanied with feeders to determine which species of squirrel was present. Other wildlife caught on the cameras included badgers, foxes and roe deer. I also had to do a transect walk up at Kielder Forest. This involved walking a set route three days in a row after baiting it the previous week. Although this meant lots of early starts I was rewarded with nice sunrises and good views of red squirrels.

These are just a few of my favourite moments and if I had to write about all of them I could go on for quite a while! It’s been an absolutely amazing nine months with NWT and hopefully one day I’ll be back! Thank you to everyone that I’ve been lucky enough to work with especially Kelly, Graham, Steven and Dan. Finally, thank you to Lou and Katy for offering me the placement to begin with.