Rockpool Ramble Revelations

Written by Hazel Munt, Fine Foundation Marine Centre Assistant (Skills for the Future).

Since it was a warm and still day we decided to take advantage of the clear waters and low tide and investigate what could be found in the colourful waters at Kimmeridge Bay.  I went out with Sarah, who is a previous trainee and now volunteers, we went straight to washing ledge, which is the largest ledge at Kimmeridge, and in the warm shallow pools started finding peacocks tail everywhere. Continue reading

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World Oceans Day Cruise

Written by: Hazel Munt – Marine Centre Assistant, Kimmeridge

With great anticipation we started to leave the harbour, wondering what the trip would bring, and if we would see anything at all.  The worry was short lived as, almost instantly, we saw mediterranean gulls along the quay, and as we got further out, saw the cormorants swimming along with their heads barely above water.  Continue reading

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Getting Wild at Girdlers


Frances and Ed standing in front of the previous completed dead hedge.

Frances and Ed standing in front of the previous completed dead hedge.

Day 1 at Girdlers Coppice

It was time to fly the nest and spend some time away from the wardens. Michelle, Ed and myself wanted to work independently and put our skills and knowledge to good practice. There was an opportunity for the three of us to work on some hazel coppicing at Girdlers Coppice, SSSI and a semi-natural ancient woodland just outside of Sturminster Newton. The hazel stools are divided into compartments and on a 15 year rotation. Our aim over the following days was to construct a dead hedge that would be finished off by our volunteers. Continue reading

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Love Bugs and Boggarts invade Dorset!


Visitors 'love bugs' showing their favourite wildlife

Visitors ‘love bugs’ showing their favourite wildlife

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks down here at Chesil Beach Centre, educating a range of age groups both here at the centre and out and about.  Continue reading

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Skills for the Future – our halfway update

How time flies!  It seems only yesterday that we all looked around the room at each other, sharing that nervous tension of a new beginning as Steve welcomed us to the programme and promised us that we’d be a great team in no time and would enjoy every minute of it.  We needn’t have worried!  6 months on and we are all gaining so much experience and confidence – the transformation is amazing! Continue reading

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A spring in our steps

Spring is well under way – the flowers are blossoming, bird chicks are growing fast and the weather is occasionally warm. Fittingly, the trainees are also progressing with the program – we are at the four month marker now, how time flies when you’re having fun!

Whilst each trainee has been focussing on specific aspects of conservation that they would like to train up on, we have also had a number of joint training sessions. These have usually been identification sessions on a variety of Dorset-wide species such as crayfish, amphibians, dragonflies and damselflies, and reptiles, and led by various staff members of Dorset Wildlife Trust. Continue reading

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Fresh Faces

Across the varied landscapes of Dorset, some fresh new faces have appeared in the Dorset Wildlife Trust. From the wild and dramatic coast at Chesil, to the island beauty of Brownsea, and into the softer lush hills at Kingcombe, the most recent intake of Skills For The Future trainees are deep into our training curve.

With the basics covered as a whole group, including the usual induction, Health and Safety, and a First Aid qualification, we have each been getting to grips with the niche training role at our local centre. Whether it’s been learning to lead work parties, taking part in survey work or engaging visitors at a centre, I know that every one of us is thoroughly enjoying our role.

Adding fences and fresh gravel to the tern islands at Brownsea

Adding fences and fresh gravel to the tern islands at Brownsea

As I write, our first month in the traineeship has drawn to a close and we’re starting into the second month, so I thought that it was high time to introduce ourselves to the blogosphere. Continue reading

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Autumnal Allsorts

To begin this installment of the Skills for the Future blog we have to say some farewells (not goodbyes!) to some of our fantastic team mates. Tom, from the west Dorset team, has secured a job on the Winterborne Came estate! He will be working in the woods and also looking after the game. Kerry and Sammy have left their Skill placements, continuing to progress their careers in conservation. We wish all of you the best and we all really hope that our paths will cross again very soon!

Meanwhile, this month we have a selection of highlights…….

As a group:

We have had a few group sessions over recent weeks. We have finished off our presentations (and gotten over our public speaking nerves!), with presentations from Megan, who told us about the amazing experiences she has had volunteering with EuCAN. Claire gave a presentation on the lifecycle of dragonflies and Amy paid homage to Tom with her presentation on his last day of work with DWT! Our brave and fearless leader has given us all some workshops on application writing and interview techniques. Now he seems to want to see if we are as brave and fearless as him, by offering to have us interviewed by the chief executive! No pressure then!


A Four-Spotted Chaser, one of the images from Claire’s dragonfly presentation.

We have had a fab time recently out on a deer count for the National Trust. This involved Megan, Charlie, Melinda and Steve wandering Purbeck trying to find deer in the rain, whilst Claire sat (quite cosy) in Steve’s one man hide, waiting to spot anything that emerged from the woods. This was followed by a very tasty breakfast – provided by the National Trust as a thank you for helping with the count!

From the East and Brownsea Teams:

Emma and Amy (along with Claire from the mid team) have completed their ‘Sit-Astirde ATV’ training, which means thay may now play on ……..we mean use the quad bikes.


Emma getting to grips with riding a quad!

From the Mid-Team:

The chainsaw season is well and truely underway, with plenty of scrub management and tree thinning on the horizon for Charlie and Claire. This is the time of year that the practical trainees are able to build up valuable experience with their chainsaws. Recently the mid team ladies have been trained to conduct Water Vole surveys, which was a great day (Claire and Charlie love an excuse to don a set of waders)! Although they didn’t spot any Water Voles they were able to see field signs of feeding and active burrows. The stunning autumn colours also bring fantastic fungi! Both Charlie and Claire are keen to learn more about fungus and develop their identification skills for this diverse group of organisms.

From the Marine Teams:

Megan at the Chesil center has been busily preparing half term activities, which ranmost of the week at the center. Lots of art and craft activities and plenty of opportunities to come along to the center and learn more about the spectacular wildlife that can be seen here (from the comfort of the cosy Chesil center cafe!). There has also been lots of keen birdwatchers visiting the center over recent weeks, enjoying the variety of species that use the area. Meanwhile, Melinda has settled int her post at Kimmeridge and is having a great time. Melinda has been keeping a close eye on the Kimmeridge seaweeds….with the help of a microscope!

Barnacles, a photo taken at the Kimmeridge Reserve.

Barnacles, a photo taken at the Kimmeridge Reserve.

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Summer of Skills

Summer has been a very busy time for the S4F Trainee team. With the centres preparing for the school holidays and an influx of visitors, the reserves conducting vital maintenance and caring for their grazing animals, and the weather being perfect for lots of wildlife surveying; the trainees have been getting well and truly stuck in!

‘Out with the Old, In with the New’

Since our last blog there has been a bit of a jiggle around within the team: Continue reading

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Summer at the Chesil Beach Centre

The summer at Chesil Beach Centre has been jam packed! With our official opening by Lord Sebastian Coe at the beginning of the school holidays, loads of events and 1000’s of visitors to the centre and Taste Café. 40 people came to our Butterflies on the Beach event. There were lots of butterflies about and the weather was lovely, making it a very enjoyable day for all. Some of our most successful events were our Seashore Detectives afternoons where we took people to explore the underwater world of the Fleet that becomes exposed at low tide. Kids and adults alike loved discovering more about the marine environment and the animals that live there. As part of Dorset Wildlife Trusts Marine Week the Chesil Beach Centre held a day showing off all the amazing marine giants we find along our coast. Loads of people came, learnt lots and had a great time taking part in the craft activities on offer. Continue reading

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