My Work Experience Placement with NWT 9

As I write this blog, there is exactly one month of my placement with the wildlife trust left, which is very scary as the past eight months have absolutely flown by. Nevertheless, I am still as busy as ever and the long hours of daylight are always a bonus.
Lapwing - Joel Ireland

Image by: Joel Ireland

Throughout most of the month, without a doubt the biggest task has been the work we have undertaken on a stone butterfly at Kielder Waterside. With the aim of making the area simpler to manage, we are taking apart the butterfly and using the stone to make a new stone wall which will then have benches in front of it. For myself, Dan and numerous other volunteers we have had to move all the stone by hand resulting in tired arms, backs and a few bruised fingers. As the stones act as a sun trap we have seen quite a few Adders basking underneath them. Whilst it has made us slightly tentative when moving the stones, even though Adders are more afraid of us, it is great to see our only venomous snake.

Once the butterfly was suitably taken apart, we began the task of creating the new wall. This involved placing the stones below ground level into the soil which consisted of lots of clay and using a rubber mell to knock them into place. Typically, it had been raining the previous days and the trench was full of water. Therefore by the end of the day, all the way up to my chest, I was covered in thick clay which after two cleans has still not completely come off my waterproofs. After a few more days of hard work, the new wall is starting to take shape and with Dan in charge of the project, every stone is as level as possible.

The other large event in May, was the Northumberland County Show, which I helped out at as part of the Restoring Ratty team. At the show there was a wide range of stalls and events ranging from conservation to show jumping. Thankfully, our stall was inside as the weather wasn’t great. However, this did little to dampen the spirits of visitors and we had a busy day talking about the project and given out freebies. A favourite freebie for children was the Water Vole badge, made to order! Along with stickers, beer coasters and a model of Ratty himself, we hopefully inspired and educated more people about the work that the Wildlife Trust does.