It has been a hectic start to the season. We have seen the arrival of white-tailed eagle chicks, a male osprey prospecting our nest and goshawks looking to make important decisions about which nest they will choose. We are keeping our fingers crossed to be able to display the trifecta of breeding raptors across our screens within the centre! 

It has been exciting and wonderful to see all the new changes at the centre but with that, I take solace in the feeling of the comfort that comes from a little bit of normality too. Being able to work and socialise with a team once again is always a highlight for me and it is a good feeling when old team members choose to return. I would like to welcome Sonya back to our team for another season. Here is a little word from her. 

Hello! I’m Sonya  Regular visitors and locals may remember my face from last year, as I came to Loch Garten last June and volunteered at the Nature Centre for about 10 weeks. And in that 10 weeks, I fell in love with so many things about Scotland. The community spirit, the gentler way of life, the pride in and care for the environment, the fairytale beautiful forests, the iconic wildlife, the dark, starry skies… the list could go on and on (and on…..) but I’ll stop there. So when the opportunity arose for me to come back this year and join the team for a full 6 months, there was no way I was going to say no!

I spent my winter working on an organic farm in the Chiltern Hills, in the South of England, learning all about sustainable food production and putting into practice some of my permaculture skills, welcoming nature onto the farm and using it as an ally on the veg patch, rather than waging war against it. I’m glad to have a local greengrocer, farm shop and organic veg box scheme up here in the highlands and really keen to support local small businesses and nature-friendly farming whilst I’m here 

The last 2 weeks have been busy and fun, setting up the Nature Centre for re-opening, getting ready to welcome visitors for a fresh, exciting new season, and getting to know new team members. We have also had some really inspiring training sessions, not just with the RSPB, but with our colleagues at Cairngorms Connect and an educational trip to Aviemore to see a screening of ‘Riverwoods’ – a beautifully made documentary about the plight of the Atlantic salmon, how, as a keystone species, it’s decline affects 1000’s of other species and the hugely inspiring work that is happening across the country to restore their habitat and put back what we have taken away from this landscape. It is showing in theatres across Scotland (and in London) over the next few weeks and is absolutely worth a watch.

As I didn’t arrive in the Highlands last year until mid-June, I missed out on Spring. So I’ve never seen the blaeberries without their leaves on before and I’m super excited about watching the forest come to life, seeing the migatory birds return to our shores, and can’t wait to get started on welcoming visitors and seeing the joy on their faces when they experience the magic of this amazing place