April marks the beginning of a new season on Skomer and Skokholm Island, ordinarily Lockley Lodge will be full of eager wildlife enthusiasts queuing for their boat tickets. Unfortunately, this is not the case currently due to covid-19 – however our Skomer team are still on the island working hard monitoring and preparing for when we are able to welcome guests again!
We have two new faces on the island this year – Catrin Norris our new Skomer Visitor Officer and Ceris Aston our new Skomer Assistant Warden! We are delighted to welcome them both to the team and hope that things will go back to normal soon!
Catrin had this to say:
“I am overjoyed to join the team on Skomer Island. My heart always comes alive when I am in Pembrokeshire and it has long been a dream of mine to work in conservation in this area. Growing up on the south coast of Wales, I have spent a lot of time in the area and am always mesmerised by the bright blue sea, soaring birds, seals popping their heads up and rugged coastline. The stiff Pembrokeshire breeze keeps the mind fresh and senses alive, as does a cool dip in the sea!
This role will allow me to combine knowledge and experience acquired through my MSc in Marine Environmental Management, my commitment to conservation, and years of experience in hospitality management and visitor relations. The unique wildlife on Skomer and surrounding waters was a massive draw, especially as I spent two months last summer in the Faroe Islands researching Manx Shearwaters. Since being on the island we have taken great pleasure in hearing their familiar call at night and watching them under the red light of our head torches and a bright starry night sky. We also had the magical experience of welcoming puffins back to the island to breed.
Prior to my MSc I spent nine years in managerial positions on board private yachts with incredible worldwide itineraries. I am therefore used to living in remote locations with small teams of people and I am now excited to transfer my skills and share my passion, to provide visitors to Skomer with unforgettable experiences.”
“Assistant Warden on Skomer! I’ve been here for three weeks now and I’m still pinching myself.
I wake up each morning to the sound of lesser black-backed gulls and, if up before the sun, sprint into the kitchen (‘the fishbowl’) to watch its slow rise over the horizon. From here, drinking my coffee, I may see stonechats – ravens – choughs – short-eared owls – each eliciting a gasp of delight.
A few years ago, I left behind a desk-based career in communications and the women’s sector, in pursuit of that Holy Grail – a job in conservation. I volunteered for a year and a half, then had a year’s apprenticeship at Lindisfarne NNR in Northumberland, then last year volunteered as Assistant Ranger at St Abb’s Head NNR in Berwickshire.
Skomer is my first island role and was always going to be a little surreal. In these strange times, all the more so... We count our blessings daily – and throw ourselves into the work with renewed energy. We don’t know when the island will reopen, but when it does, it will have been scrubbed, dusted and painted to within an inch of its life.
I’m excited to see out a full seabird season on an island – to walk, to write, to draw, and to spend time simply breathing in (is it peculiar to have a fondness for the smell of guano?). And I’m looking forward to working, to learning, and to doing my bit for the place, the wildlife, and the people who love Skomer.”
We are delighted to welcome them both to our wild family and look forward to the time when Skomer is reopened and visitors can meet them both too!
Despite Skomer Island being currently closed to visitors, you can still get your Skomer fix over on our social media pages!