Jess Grimbley, ShoreFin Volunteer 2016, England

After reading positive comments, I decided to apply for a volunteer position at CBMWC to gain more experience in the field of conservation. After initially applying to be a Living Seas volunteer, I was encouraged to apply for the ShoreFin position as I was interested in photography. After becoming extremely invested in the project I continue to volunteer with CBMWC to aid the continuation of the project, and help photograph and identify dolphins throughout the winter.

I would absolutely recommend applying for the ShoreFin position. Nothing compares to the satisfaction attained from carrying out this research project which contributes to a long-term examination of individual dolphins in New Quay. It feels like you have a deep connection to the research as you get to know individual dolphins, and can recognise them from sight and their behaviours when they visit New Quay bay.

For example my favourite dolphin Jacky is known for foraging within New Quay harbour itself, and is always seen in close association with her juvenile Joey. A particularly exciting time for me was when I recently photographed Jacky with a newborn calf! It will be interesting to see how the social dynamic between Jacky and her older calf Joey change now that she has a new calf, and this is just one of the fascinating aspects of photo-ID work. This work is also very important for tracking individuals and conducting population estimates.

On completion of the project a report is written up, which not only emphasises the importance of this volunteer position, but also gives you great experience in report-writing for a non-profit organisation. During this position you can also gain experience in public engagement, use of social media for conservation, production of educational materials such as newsletters, and ultimately learn a lot about marine wildlife through first-hand experience. Many of these skills are invaluable and are what employers look for in the field of conservation.