Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Unknown wales

Last weekend I was invited to attend the unknown wales conference at the National Museum of Wales in collaboration with The Wildlife Trust. 

I also entered the photo contest with my entry "A year in the life of a Welsh conservation volunteer."

"A year in the life of a Conservation Volunteer in Wales
The photo collage illustrates the range of conservation volunteering I have undertaken in the past year. From Balsam Bashing with the Wildlife Trust at Parc Slip, removing invasive plant species; Educational Wild Walks, Pond Dipping, Fishing, Field Drawing and Bug Hunts at Dow Corning Eco Centre with Wildlife Trust, allowing children to get up close and personal with wildlife; Monthly beach clean with Friends of Barry Beaches, clearing rubbish and recyclables; Residential Volunteering placement at RSPB South Stack reserve, people engagement about the plight of our seabirds, using optics to locate wildlife; Educational wildlife crafts, making pipe cleaner Bats at Techniquest and Margam Park with RSPB; Dissecting Owl Pellets at Margam Park with RSPB."

It was a great feeling seeing my photos on the big screen in the National Museum of Wales  Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at such aprestigious event.

The first talk was on the bank voles of skomer and Ramsey island from Dr Tim Healing Who's comical sketches and excellent photos made the talk very engaging.

There was then a talk from Dr Ingrid Juttner on diatoms a form of algae/plankton which very beautiful to look at but the delivery was very dry. 

The talk I was looking forward to the most beforehand was on the reintroduction of the sand lizard to the sand dunes of wales, a species I was yet to see. Again the images made the talk.

There was then a talk on dung beetles of the uk from Dr Sarah Beynon who was very engaging and inspirational speaker. Also the bugs themselves were absolutely beautiful.

During lunch the photo contest would be decided and the entries on display in the oil room. I had my packed lunch outside in the fresh air and a piece of lemon and poppyseed cake and a belvoir ginger beer from the museum cafe. I then headed to check our the other entries and the results. The main prize was a trip to Skomer island, somewhere I have been longing to visit since I became interested in birds and wildlife. 

Most of the other entries seemed to me to focus on the photographic style rather than the subject of conservation in Wales. The winning entry was a stunning composition, light and colour contrast. I then saw my entry as runner up, sometimes coming second is worse as there is no prize no special mention just a  sign saying to me "nearly got to skomer mate" basically. 

The afternoons talks were on ancient forest fossils of Wales which was very very dry indeed.

Then there was the Barry triangle "Why do rare fish keep turning up off the coast of Barry ?" which initially being from Barry I was really into until I realised it was just 30 slides of the fish and when and where they turned up followed by suggestions as to why?

By this point following my near defeat I was ready to leave. However, the final talk from Stephen Moss former Spring Watch producer and president of Somerset Wildlife Trust. The day so far had been interesting, but heavily scientific and academic led. For me Stephen was a breath of fresh air as he spoke my language. The films he showed highlighted some of my favourite animals, people and places. Red Kites, Red Squirrels, Great White Egrets, Marsh Harriers, Otters, Iolo Williams, Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath reserves. Stephen spoke of the importance of us making our own minds up and making our own decisions about controversial reintroduction programs, he also highlighted the importance of educating the younger generation on conservation issues.

I left feeling fully inspired after an awesome day. Also, I finally managed to bag myself a weeks volunteering on Skomer next summer!

No comments:

Post a Comment