Today’s Volunteers’ Week blog comes from thirteen-year-old Magnus, one of our youngest volunteers. For Magnus, volunteering has definitely been a journey of discovery. From wasp spiders to the Big Wild Sleepout, be inspired by his wild adventure.
My name is Magnus and I volunteer at Hazeley Heath in Dorset. I have been asked to write about what I get up to at Hazeley. In August, I helped with a nest box survey. I really enjoyed this because it gave me an insight into what it’s like for a bird to nest on Hazeley Heath. Overall, we found that the bird boxes had been inhabited by three blue tits and one coal tit. This was interesting because the nest boxes had been positioned lower down near the bracken, to try and entice marsh tits to nest.
We also tested different types of bat boxes to see which ones the bats, including pipistrelles, prefer. Viewing the bat boxes, we found quite a lot of them had been inhabited; you could tell by looking for greasy black marks coming from inside the box.
I also volunteer on Sunday work parties which happen every third Sunday of the month. I really enjoy this because we get to do lots of exciting things such as see amazing wasp spiders in action! With their cunning yellow and black stripes, they really do look ferocious. I find these creatures fascinating because the male has to play certain strings on the web to attract the female’s attention and if he gets this wrong, she will eat him. Even if the male does play the strings correctly she may eat him anyway, which I think is quite mean because it takes hours and hours to pluck the strings of the web. Mind you, I don’t think I have that patience! On occasion, I have also seen common lizards, adders, grass snakes and slow worms. I always get really excited when I see these reptiles because they’re so intricate and different from other species. It’s great having a bonfire on Sundays and pulling the gorse and pine – it’s an epic workout!
Furthermore, I really enjoy helping at events such as the Big Wild Sleepout and Activity Thursdays because it means that we can connect people to nature, and the marshmallows were really good at the Sleepout! At the Big Wild Sleepout I also helped to build the impressive bonfire that stood as the centrepiece when the campers came, despite the monsoon.
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