So, long story short, I need to do voluntary work as part of my school timetable. So I managed to sort out voluntary with Scottish Natural Heritage at Holyrood Park. They could only take me for 6 weeks though which was really quite annoying as A. I needed voluntary for the whole school year and B. I really loved everything I did with the park rangers, from visiting a private wildlife reserve to clearing gorse and even the litter pick after bonfire night! So, the head ranger suggested I do my John Muir Award in the park. What a great idea that was 🙂
John Muir was known as the Father of Conservation in America (I think that’s it) and was responsible for a lot of the National Parks. He was also an explorer, ecologist, geologist, glaciologist, something else, something else and many other things!
The idea of the award is that you discover an area, explore it, conserve it, and share it. My area (or three areas) are in Holyrood Park. Lilyhill, Whinny hill and Dunsapie Loch. These three areas cover plenty of habitats, birch forest, pine forest, gorse, open grass, rocky crags, and a Loch (lake). So there’s me discovered the area.
To explore the area I’m going to be doing fairly regular bird surveys, learning to ID trees, and just generally learning everything I can about the ecosystem and biodiversity of the site, (including nightlife) which I’m loving so far!
The third challenge, to conserve the area, means I need to help nature survive in the area. To do this I’ll probably set up bird boxes, maybe do a few litter picks, and I’ve been allowed to make information boards for Dunsapie Loch and also St. Margaret’s Loch to give visitors a bit of information, including why not to feed the birds white bread! Another thing I’ll potentially be doing is just chatting to people around the area (usually around St. Margaret’s Loch) about why not to feed the birds white bread, and possibly letting them switch their bread for grain that I’ll bring with me (I know, how nice of me).
How am I going to share my experiences? I’m doing it right now 🙂 but this is just one way I’m doing it. My Flickr page will play a fairly large part in my sharing, as I like taking pictures anyway and it helps people see what’s around and what I’ve found. I’m going to try my best to do some sketches in the field of anything really; trees, bugs, birds, flowers, the landscape…
So that’s what I’m doing for my John Muir Award! Apparently it’s quite specialised and more self-lead than most peoples so hopefully it’s going to be a beneficial experience! It’s already the best part of my week every week 🙂