My six month placement at the Dee has come to an end, but the last few weeks have been really fun!

We went to Woolston Eyes once more to help assistant warden Ash with reed cutting and clearing (and got very muddy). We've also done some significant willow cutting at Burton Mere Wetlands, beneath the viewpoint beside the sacrificial crop field on the Farm and Fen trail. This served to open up the impressive view over the wetlands which had gradually diminished with the trees' growth, and also helps manage the extent of willow so it doesn’t become too dominant. We were assisted on this mammoth task by another corporate work party from HSBC and M&S Bank, who helped us cut up and burn the willow. I had a great day being in charge of the fire!

 The corporate work party tackles the willow trees (A.Cousens)

Other jobs have involved re-surfacing the path down to Inner Marsh Farm hide, lots of painting to spruce up the toilets on the reserve as well as beginning to clear and organise the grain store (also known as the wardens' workshop and store).

I had lots of fun at my last off-site event as well, one of the national 'Fun Palaces' at Neston Library, where we engaged with families by making dragonflies out of pipe cleaners! I have also had my last team meeting and got to go in the badger hide and see the badgers one last time, which were nice ways to round off my time here.

 Yet another badger photo (G.Earlam)

I can’t believe I have now come to the end of my placement with the RSPB. It has been a great six months and I have learnt so much here! From expanding my knowledge of wetland birds and the habitat conditions they need to breed in, to how to run a visitor centre, fundraising and a taste of external promotional activity, the array of experience I have gained has really been invaluable. The team and volunteers at the reserve have been so welcoming and friendly since the beginning and it has been fab to work with them all! Every single one of them helps to make Burton Mere Wetlands the special place it is and they do it so well! I am sad to be leaving but as I don’t live too far away I know I will definitely be back to visit in no time so it isn’t all sad farewells!

As this is my second volunteer placement I am hoping to now get paid work in the conservation sector and will begin applying to jobs soon (once I return from a trip to New Zealand). I would love to work in habitat management either using my new experience of wetlands or my previous experience of calcareous grassland or a new habitat completely. I have also loved the engagement side of this placement and know I will take this in to whatever career I end up in!

 View from Inner Marsh Farm hide (G.Earlam)

Another thing I have loved about this placement is all the exciting nature places my eyes have been opened up to from talking to locals and staff alike. During the past six months I have visited many beautiful places in my free time in addition to the amazing places I have been for work. I now see birds and wildlife everywhere I go even if it’s just a walk in a local park or along a cycle path and I have a long list of other nature reserves I want to go and explore.

That is all from me now! Thank you to everyone who has been part of my time here and anyone who has read my blogs and shared the experience with me! 

Happy nature watching!