Hello! My name is Iona and I’m so glad to be actually experiencing Abernethy for myself! Having worked as part of the membership team for the RSPB, I was often talking to the public about the amazing conservation work at this reserve and how important it is to protect the species which call Abernethy home. I have worked all across central Scotland, engaging with members of the public and telling them all about the RSPB. Abernethy is an area which people are always keen to learn more about and after talking about this amazing place to so many people, I’m so happy to be able to come here and experience working at the reserve for myself.


Having grown up in a village in rural southwest Scotland, the past year being stuck in my little Glasgow flat has definitely been a challenge! Being used to seeing red kites circling the garden and red squirrels hanging off the bird feeder, a year of being pretty much confined to Glasgow was very different. Not without wildlife of its own, however. Having the time to take more notice of my local area allowed me to appreciate just how much wildlife I had on my doorstep. Whether that be hearing the swifts screeching as they arrive for summer, cormorants drying their wings on the edge of the river Kelvin or a great spotted woodpecker up in the trees on my own street; Glasgow has some amazing wildlife of its own.


My journey into all thing’s wildlife was not as straightforward as I now would have hoped. Not really knowing what I wanted to study when I left school (as I’m sure is the case with many 17-year olds), I decided to go to university to study Film and Television. Whilst at university, I realised it wasn’t really the course for me, but stuck it out and managed to veer in the direction I wanted by writing my dissertation on anthropomorphism in nature documentaries. This led to me taking a break from watching Attenborough documentaries after spending so long studying them! Since graduating, I have spent a lot of time taking part in various volunteering opportunities both in Scotland and further afield which helped me realise where my passion lay. Then finally a couple of years ago, I took my first step into the conservation world to work in the amazing membership team of the RSPB!

Now my journey continues, and I’m very excited to be based at our Loch Garten reserve. Having already witnessed some amazing wildlife and scenery in my short time here, I can’t wait to see how the habitats and species change as we progress into the warmer months and have the opportunity to talk to the people who come to experience this beautiful place.