On a recent sunny Saturday, a keen group of volunteers from Aberdeen University Conservation Society dragged themselves out of bed to spend the day helping out as a volunteer work party at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg.

Some of our band of merry volunteers (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

Many of them made the trip from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh by public transport, and then they had to be raring to go nice and early and then pull on their workboots as soon as they arrived at the reserve so that we could make the most of the limited light at this time of the year. Splitting into two groups, we shared the work between path building and tree planting. The reserve is gradually adapting all of its paths to ensure they are wide enough and suitable for wheelchair and pushchair access. So far, various work parties and local volunteers have completed the path from the Visitor's Centre down to the pond. The university students started on a new section, adapting the path that leaves the wildlife garden and made good progress in a short time.

Work begins on the new path (Photo: Zofie Hobzikova, Uni of Aberdeen Conservation Soc.)

There was also lots of activity over at Rookery Wood on the edge of the reserve, where we are in the midst of creating a new community woodland. Over the winter thousands of native trees will be planted to create a woodland for everyone to enjoy. We already had a couple of hundred established young ash trees that needed relocating, and so the students got stuck in and planted over 80 between them.

Zofie and her wonky ash tree! (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

Creating new woodland at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

Working together to get the bigger trees into the ground (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

Thirteen students, plus a local volunteer made good inroads into some of the bigger projects we are working on at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg; many hands do indeed make light work! Work parties such as this one can help a project move forward significantly in just one afternoon, so a big thanks to this group, for all of their hard work and we hope to see them back here in the new year! If you are interested in volunteering on a regular basis at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg, or you'd like to bring a work party here for a day of volunteering, please get in touch. You can email us: strathbeg@rspb.org.uk or call 01346 532017.

Sarah Bedford

North East Scotland Reserves Intern

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