Hi everyone! Rishane here!

Most of you will probably not remember me since most of you haven’t even met me! Yes, I’m back for another season at Loch Garten only this time I’ve levelled up. I’m a big gal now and will take on the duties of an RSPB Visitor Experience Officer after volunteering for the strangest 6 months of our lives.

When I arrived last year as a newbie, I was excited to assist the Nature Team in welcoming all of the lovely Abernethy fans and learn about the famous Loch Garten story for myself. However. The centre’s doors remained shut and with them, my dream of learning the makings of a memorable visitor experience.

With no Nature Centre and no visitors, things seemed gloomy. There was still, however, very important work to be done. The forest standing great and tall still needed our protection. Our connection to nature for a lot of us was reinforced through lockdown. Our home became our offices, our schools, our gyms, our entertainment. The outdoors and finding a way out of our multipurpose living space was suddenly deeply needed in our daily routine. More people wanting to enjoy Loch Garten meant that more people did not know how to enjoy it responsibly.  With great nature, comes great responsibility.

I found a sense of purpose by patrolling the forest at dusk, educating visitors about the Abernethy residents we share the forest with, the devastating impact of fires and the steps towards respectful camping.

The most important conclusion I have come to is that we have an opportunity, here, to enthuse and educate many different people who might not have ever considered visiting us before. With international travel on standstill, lockdown can teach us all to appreciate our local wildlife, natural heritage and respect our surroundings.

The ospreys too seem to be emerging out of lockdown, and just in time! It was so great seeing you all on Saturday and we can’t wait to have an amazing season here with a new pair of established ospreys!