Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Dorset’s Heathland Heart – a volunteer’s view

Hi, my name is Lydia and I am the Communications Volunteer for Dorset’s Heathland Heart, part of the Back from the Brink project.

I’ve always been interested in wildlife. When I was younger I used to go on nature walks with my Dad and Brother. Dad would point out different plants and birds, and anything else we saw. He loved birds so was always pointing out Robins, Goldfinches and Blue Tits - he didn’t need to always see the bird and used to ID them from their song too so we knew to keep an eye out.
As I got older and started work, nature took a step back for me although I always knew it was there and still used to listen out for birdsong and smell the flowers on the way to work.

When I got my dog, a beautiful Husky-cross called Kye, and started walking in the parks and commons in London, nature just started to take over my mind again, it made me feel so calm and peaceful. I started to notice the small changes up the park, when plants started to poke through or flower, the buds on the trees, the different birds and how they behaved. I found the location of a woodpecker’s nest by listening to the call of the young and then waiting (at a distance) for the adult to return.

I love the changing of the seasons, Autumn is my favourite, and as I walked among the trees I knew that I had to find a way to help conserve and share the knowledge about the wonders of our UK wildlife. I didn’t find much opportunity in the part of London I lived, but when we moved to Dorset five years ago I was lucky enough to land the position of Communications Volunteer for Dorset Wildlife Trust. This got me into an environment with like minded people and an insight into how it all works. Unfortunately, I could only stay for a year as I had to get a full time job, although I still write articles on behalf of Dorset Wildlife Trust every few months. I was also lucky enough to volunteer at RSPB Arne as their Marketing Volunteer for a few months too, all of this just strengthened my resolve to become involved with wildlife conservation somehow.

I had seen a lot of information about the Back from the Brink project. How amazing that all these wildlife charities are getting together and helping to save so many species ad habitats. I kept an eye out for any vacancies that may come up but was never experienced enough to be able to apply. I saw a volunteer vacancy and thought I would apply for that and see where it might lead. I had a great chat with Emma Burt, the Community and Outreach Officer for Back from the Brink and she put me in touch with Caroline Kelly, the Project Manager of Dorset’s Heathland Heart. Since then I have written a couple of blogs, and been involved in an event at Corfe Castle, sharing the wonders of the Heaths with the public.

Have you ever smelt the gorse that grows on the heath? It smells of coconut, I had heard this before but never experienced it and now it is one of the first things I notice. I saw my first Dartford Warbler in Dorset at Hengistbury Head near Christchurch and felt so lucky to have seen this small, rare bird. Walking on a heath can be very deceiving, to some it may look quite flat and uninteresting but when you start to spend time there and learn about the wildlife that makes the heath its home, it becomes a whole community in itself.

I hope to one day be able to work full time for a wildlife conservation charity and continue to share the wonders of our local wildlife with others.

 

Lydia

Dorset's Heathland Heart Communications Volunteer.

 

 

Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.

 

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