Andy O’Callaghan, Youth Project Officer from Our Wild Coasts gives us an update from North Wales Wildlife Trust
As Our Welsh Coasts gears up for working with young people across North Wales, it was time for the development workers to get their hands dirty and understand the ins and outs of how a wildlife trust proactively conserves an area for the benefit of wildlife and the community.
Job number 1 – Where?
The North Wales Wildlife Trust cares for more than 30 reserves from less than one hectare (smaller than Trafalgar square) to many hectares which you can imagine takes a lot of manpower to manage. We have conservation officers managing different areas to care for reserves, and a team of dedicated volunteers who give their free time willingly for the protection of wildlife.
My colleague and I set out on the hottest day of the year so far (an absolute coincidence I assure you!) to ramble through a few reserves based on Anglesey which Our Welsh Coasts will be actively preserving. The day took us to a huge reserve called Cors Goch, just north of Anglesey. It has a well preserved wetland and amazing species to be seen, including funnel webs and birds of prey.
A lot of work does need to be done to maintain the site, so enter job number 2.
Job number 2 – Who and how?
My first experience of hands on conservation came working on a site called Bryn Pydew (a limestone slope outside of the popular tourist resort Llandudno) where cutting down newly rooted trees and brambles was on the agenda. A lot of native UK species are being outgrown by invasive plant species, and in efforts to conserve our natural flora, these plants need pruning and chopping to give other plants a chance at flourishing.
It rained. A lot.
Within half an hour, I, the volunteers and the cows in the next field were soaked to the bone willing the time to go a bit faster so the halftime cup of tea could nurse us back to full health.
Thankfully halftime arrived and the sun came out to say hello. A much appreciated gesture in perfect timing wouldn’t you say? It was only after the waterproofs came off and the t-shirts came out that you realised it would probably be better to carry on in the pouring rain as bare skin and brambles are not a combination that match.
The day did go smoothly though and the methods behind conservation were becoming a bit clearer.
Job number 3 – Let’s get the project involved!
Conservation is a guiding principle of Our Wild Coast and knowing the benefits to nature of what you are doing is a driving force behind the motivation to get active in your environment. Whether you’re in it for the flora, the fauna or both; it’s time to lend a hand in keeping Wales’ environment for our future and the future of our nation.