My name is Karen McCullough and I have been volunteering with the Wildlife Trust of South (WTSWW) for the last 18 months as a weekly project volunteer, a biological recorder and a volunteer warden for Paul Thornton and his team, predominantly on Gower.
During this time the Trust have supported, encouraged and inspired my endeavours to achieve a change of career from the civil service to the conservation sector by providing excellent personal development, an outdoor class-room and formal/informal training opportunities.
I am thrilled and delighted to announce that I have won a placement through the Vodafone World of Difference programme. This means that I have the opportunity to work for the WTSWW part time over the next four months on the Dranges Reserve, Gower.
The scope of this project includes many aspects that would be required in a full time position with the Trust. It is therefore a chance to reciprocate their help and support whilst continuing my personal development and improving my employment prospects.
The Dranges Reserve is a new acquisition for the WTSWW who are currently signing the Lease. Historically it has been sensitively managed for nature by the private owner. However, as a WTSWW Reserve it is now in need of a formal Management Plan and project funding in order to fulfil the Trusts’ aims and objectives to create and enhance wildlife havens, stand up for wildlife and the environment and to inspire people about the natural world.
My role is to collect and collate existing biological data in order to inform a Management Plan and Work Programme for the Reserve. It is intended that I carry out a Risk Assessment, create a Prescription of Works (required for any application for project funding) and begin the process of seeking grant funding.
I will set up formal recording walks (Transects), biodiversity sampling sites (Quadrats) and a formal Hepterofauna (amphibian and reptile) survey site. I will also provide articles for the WTSWW/WLT publications which may also be used for general release to promote the Trusts’ Activities. The culmination of my role is intended to be a guided Nature Walk around the Reserve as part of the Gower Walking Festival In June 2012.
As part of my commitment to the project I will also be keeping a blog on the World of Difference Site and setting up a Facebook page on the Dranges through which I will keep everyone up to date with how the project is going.