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Life as a Skokholm Island volunteer : Part 1

July 17, 2019

In February I applied for a position as a long term volunteer on Skokholm Island in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. Having applied for positions on neighbouring Skomer Island and being unsuccessful I was ecstatic when I was offered the job, and spent the next four months dreaming of seabirds and an isolated island life. After lots of preparation and a hurried weekend buying all the food I’d need for my 3 months away, I finally arrived last Monday. This post is an update of what I’ve been doing over the past two weeks. 
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Positive Conservation News - June 2019

June 30, 2019

Half way through the year and conservation successes continue to occur! June passed by and saw governments and businesses continue to commit to reducing their plastic outputs, marine and terrestrial habitat protected, a phenomenal breeding season for a threatened bird species and much more! 

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The Power of Citizen Science And How To Get Involved

June 29, 2019

Field work on Puffin Island, Wales

Citizen science is a fun and easy way to get involved in environmental research. Studies typically require a lot of data collection, often over large geographical areas. This is where you can be an invaluable contributor by observing wildlife and collecting samples under the direction of academics or organisations. You don’t need qualifications or experience, just a hard-working attitude and an enthusiasm for nature. Do it alone or with friends and family, and make it suit your schedule by opting for one off or long-term projects. 

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Gardening for Wildlife : Part 2

June 15, 2019

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.
 – David Hobson

Our last gardening post was a month and half ago, when we were just starting work on our newly acquired garden space, and it's been a very exciting time. Although we haven't done a huge amount more in terms of developing the garden, we have had lots more visitors, and it's been fascinating to watch our plants grow and flower. The weather has also not been the best for gardening, and so we have sat watching the birds from our back room with the rain pouring down for much of May and the start of June. This post is more of an update then, and with the huge citizen science project Gardenwatch currently underway and June being the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild Challenge, there have been a lot of reasons for us be out in the garden!

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Positive Conservation News - May 2019

May 31, 2019

The world's favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.
 - Edwin Way Teale

Today's post is a summary of more successful conservation news from this past month. May saw exciting results for Green politics across Europe, new areas around the world granted protected status, and success for a crocodile breeding project in Cambodia! A wave of local, regional and national governments declared a 'Climate Emergency' this month as the pressure rises for them to start taking Global Warming seriously.  Read on for much more, and feel free to share your favourite recent conservation news with us in the comments. 
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Opinion: Do new laws surrounding Grey squirrel release go too far?

May 24, 2019

In October this year, UK laws surrounding non-native species will change, and licences will no longer be issued for the rescue and release of grey squirrels. This is mainly because grey squirrels pose a threat to the native red squirrel, both through the transmission of the squirrel pox virus (SQPV), and through ecological displacement. Having volunteered at a rescue centre and helped in rehabilitating grey squirrels myself, but also being a conservationist, the issue is a tough one for me. Whilst I agree that some control is necessary in efforts to save the red squirrel, I believe that this latest measure goes too far. A lot of unnecessary suffering will be caused for grey squirrels, as well as emotional anguish for the people who usually care for them. The laws will leave rescuers and rescue centres in limbo, where any squirrel that is brought in cannot be released, so either needs to be euthanised or kept in captivity forever.

In response to the imminent change in laws I signed a petition earlier this year, entitled: 'Make grey squirrel rescue exempt from Invasive Alien Species Order 2019'. It has now generated over 570,000 signatures, although the government has responded by saying that they have no intention of making grey squirrels exempt. However, as a result of signing the petition I recently received an email from a group of MP's called the 'Environment Audit Committee' inviting me to put across my views on invasive species. Feeling that this might be the only forum where I could air my concerns about the change in the invasive species laws, I decided to do some research on the subject of grey squirrels and their control, as well as how they affect reds, in order to write an informed response.
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