Here is a wee blog from Stuart telling you about his journey into conservation. He has been with us since last year through thick and thin. Hopefully, his positivity will lift all our spirits today! 

My name is Stuart. Originally, I hail from Warrington; a large town in the north-west of England. Wedged between Manchester and Liverpool, it makes up part of a large urban sprawl that covers much of north-west England. Growing up, I lived on the edge of town, which meant there were green space and farms quite nearby. For as long as I can remember I have always loved the outdoors.

As a youngster, I would spend all my free time outside. In the woods, playing football, hide and seek amongst other mischievous things we all know kids do. Wind, rain or shine, I would always be outside. This would frequently irritate my mum as I often came home caked in mud. Having always been very active, I was lucky enough to be able to get involved in various activities. I was part of the Scout movement from a young age until I turned 16. This sparked my interest in camping, hiking, bushcraft and wildlife. Throughout my childhood, I spent a lot of time in Scotland which allowed me to get out to even wilder places. My mum is Scottish, so we spent our holidays in the south-west where we had a caravan for many years.

Throughout primary and secondary school, I always had a keen interest in learning. I took an eclectic mix of subjects that kept my prospects open all the way through to college. However, my affinity for the outdoors remained strong and would lead me to study Geography at university.

I did my studying in the sunny Midlands city of Coventry and completed one year in the even sunnier city of Reykjavik, Iceland. So far, I have been lucky in life and have had the opportunity to travel to many different countries through my studies and personal life. I have seen amazing landscapes, natural places and wildlife that has inspired me. My studies gave me a greater understanding of the climatic and ecological crisis occurring in the world today. This led me to want to preserve and protect places and its wildlife which unable to protect itself.

When I came to search for work, Scotland was the one place that immediately sprung to mind. I wanted to work for a meaningful cause, protect the natural places and the species within them. What better organisation than the RSPB? I was lucky enough to be successful in landing an internship at Abernethy reserve. It was amazing being able to work on such inspirational projects and research. With the bonus of getting to spend so much time in this incredible landscape. The forest here has a very different feel to other places, almost magical. So once here, I knew I wanted to stay. Amazingly, I got that chance as part of the Loch Garten Nature Centre Team. Helping to look after this beautiful place and spread the word about our conservation work and the amazing wildlife here in Scotland.