Reflecting on 2016, personally its been a very busy year. Work wise, its the first time since graduating that I’ve been in the same role, this has lead to some great professional achievements with successful events. Aside from work, volunteering, campaigning & travelling has been full on too.
Late February saw me & my partner head off on our annual city break, as usual it involved drinking lots of coffee, walking miles, eating local pastries, people watching & just relaxing. Highly recommend the city, great value, stunning views, lovely parks, friendly people, history, street art & culture.
Talks & Conferences
Throughout the 2016, I’ve attended a number of conferences, talks & events. In March I headed to Bristol for Birders Against Wildlife Crime‘s (BAWC) 2nd Eyes in the field conference, despite only being able to attend the one day I saw a superb range of guest speakers including Inglorious author Mark Avery & David Lindo – The Urban Birder .
April saw Litter Free Coast & Sea’s first TOM Talk, Tomorrow’s Ocean’s Matter, held at Bournemouth University, the evening consisted of fine talks from #2minutebeachclean founder Martin Dorey , Riz board shorts & Flotsam artist Jo Atherton
In August I ventured to Rutland for Birdfair, billed as “the Glastonbury for nature fanatics”, again due to work commitments I could only attend one day (work keeps getting in the way!), I caught up with friends, volunteered on the BAWC stand for a few hours, saw a few talks & debates.
And to round off the year I attend George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan’s lecture/concert on Loneliness and H is for Hawk author Helen McDonald in conversation.
10 days in Botswana really was a trip of a life time, we had countless incredible wildlife encounters, such as an impala interrupting breakfast being chased by wild dog into camp, watching 10 elephants cross the river holding each others tails, watching fish eagles hunt and getting up close to vultures. These amazing experiences along with flying in light aircraft over the Okavango, spending time with family and the wonderful staff at the camps have given me lasting memories.
Litter Free Coast & Sea- manning the stand at Purbeck School’s science fair in April, engaging with lots of families about micro beads in cosmetics such as face scrubs & toothpaste and promoting the Beat the Bead app . I once again helped at Dorset Food & Drinks Christmas Fair at Athlehampton House, talking to people about all aspects of Litter Free’s campaign including single use plastics, bathing water quality & beach cleans.
New Forest Smooth Snake Project- After under going a day’s training & being issued with the correct licences & a km survey square I carried out 10 surveys as part of smooth snake project , sadly I didn’t record any smooth snakes, Britain’s rarest reptile, at my heathland site near Sway , but did note many adders, slow worm & common lizards.
Raptor Camp- In late September I spent a week in Malta volunteering with Birdlife Malta, monitoring bird migration over the island & combating illegal hunting of protected species. This is my 6th time attending these migration camps that also take place during the spring. Sighting highlights include watching around 60 kestrels coming into roost, honey buzzards & osprey.
Hen Harrier Day 2016–
August saw the 3rd Hen Harrier Day, a series of fundraising & awareness events across the country coordinated by BAWC and a number of regional volunteers. Around 10 events happened over the weekend, including in Mull, Yorkshire & London, leading up to the so called “glorious 12th”, which signals the start of the grouse shooting season. The links between grouse shooting & the breeding “success” of hen harriers & other birds of prey are well documented! Raptor Persecution UK is an excellent blog for further information. As with the 2015’s event at RSPB Arne, my role was to deliver the social media campaign, promote the event, liaise with local bird groups, answer general enquires & source raffle prizes, which this year signed books, magazine subscriptions & nest boxes.
This year Hen Harrier Day South had a very special guest speaker, renowned naturalist& presenter Iolo Williams . As the event fell during our trip to Botswana we had to celebrate from thousands of miles away!
I started South Coastal back in June for daily blogging for The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild , writing each day about our wild activities , everything from den building, visiting reserves, wild art & going tech free for the day.
Aside from all the cultural, political & social chaos, bad news & uncertainty, its been a busy year & productive 12 months for me personally. I’m now in the process of making plans for this year with further volunteering, campaigning, travelling & possibly a new role!