Friday, 18 September 2009

Raking & Aching

Technically I'm a member of staff and not a volunteer so I shouldn't really be writing on the volunteer's blog. But I spent yesterday away from the computer & out on reserve with a volunteer work party. Despite this morning's aches I had a great time and thought I'd share some of the moments....

Although I've volunteered with other conservation groups, this was my first time out with Wildlife Trust volunteers. We've got lots of volunteer groups working on our reserves all over the county - yesterday the midweek 'roving' group were mowing and raking a meadow near Pershore. Mill Meadow is privately owned but managed by the Trust - there is minimal access to the reserve which makes it a haven for wildlife. It's not been ploughed for at least three generations, is sheltered and remains undrained. There is a rich flora in the meadow including spotted orchid, fleabane and devil's-bit scabious as well as moths, insects, slow-worms, frogs and toads - and much much more!

As the meadow is relatively small yesterday's work was done largely by hand. John mowed - we raked. Hardwork! We pitchforked the mown grass into three or four piles around the site. This gradually composts down and makes a fabulous habitat for slow-worms, grass snakes, frogs and toads. John was great at spotting wildlife that was wandering around in front of mower - we lost count of how many frogs and toads of all sizes we moved out of the way! From my point of view seeing so many toads was brilliant - I've got a registered toad crossing quite close to the meadow and it was great to see that so many made it after seeing so many squashed as they travelled to their breeding pond/s earlier this year.

One of the volunteers suggested that they start to make a log of break-time and lunchtime conversations as they're so varied. Yesterday we chatted about the school that wanted to slaughter a sheep - which led to an interesting discussion about animal husbandry - as well as the culinary delights of noodles and pasta. It's not all hardwork!

I'm not going to tell a fib. If you're thinking of volunteering on one of our reserves, expect to ache a little after the first day's hardwork. I used muscles yesterday that I'd forgotten I had - and I'm aching a little today to remind me. I may write a press release or update our website today to spread the word about we we do - but yesterday I was involved in the 'real' on the ground work of actively managing habitats to help our wildlife survive.

Fancy joining in? Contact our volunteer co-ordinator, Claire Dovey on 01905 754919 or

Wendy, Communications Manager, Lower Smite Farm

1 comment:

  1. Spill the beans then - how did Wendy do? Did her work rate match up to our real volunteers?