My name is Amy Fodor and I have been lucky enough to secure a three month internship at Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. I am from Redcar and recently graduated from Teesside University with a degree in English Studies. It was the University who presented the opportunity around late November 2016. My initial attraction to wanting to work with Tees Valley Wildlife was to gain an insight into the workings of the Trust and how they were able to find funding, promote themselves and managed multiple projects. Another particular interest of mine is the ability to effectively work with local communities and groups. I hope that throughout my duration I am able to understaand the way in which the individual projects are delivered and organised. In addition to this, I aim to develop my communication skills, ability to contribute to projects and gain knowledge on the matters surrounding conservation. I have produced a review of my first week, consisting of the activities I was involved with and also detailing my personal experiences with the trust.
Throughout my introductory week as an intern (commencing Monday January 9th 2017), I was able to begin my insight into the workings of Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. Whilst it began with learning about the numerous wonderful projects through meeting the members of the team, it wasn’t long until I was then able to begin seeing the work for myself.
I was able to accompany Wild Green Places project officer Paul Bamber to several meetings. My initial meeting with Paul was alongside two Guisborough locals who were discussing the developments occurring in King George V fields. The two primary focus of the meeting was to review the area in which ten plaques were to be installed around the site. Each plaque consisted of an illustration created by local children to demonstrate some of the plants and wildlife which inhabit the area. Furthermore, there was a successful discussion of the upcoming bird events taking place throughout February half time. The group have agreed to act as hosts for one of the days.
Continuing the week alongside Paul, we attended a meeting with members of the Friends of Stainton and Thornton Green Spaces along with the Community Payback Team. The meeting was held at Maelor’s Wood which oversaw the allocation of particular jobs. These are intended to be carried out within the following weeks and months. Some of the proposed activity will include removing any excess hawthorn in order to make suitable space for the autumn/ winter interpretation board, which was created by Paul. Whilst we were not able to stay long enough to observe this, it was noted that there was also to be a spring/ summer board installed at the opposite end of the wood. These boards allow any visitors to learn about the wildlife which inhabits the wood but also the trees which are planted there. These function as an easily accessible learning station for anyone from dog-walkers and families, to those more knowledgeable of local wildlife. In addition to this, I was able to practise my ability to distinguish between different trees by indentifying their branches. This included trees such as silver birch, pine and hawthorns which were particularly vast in this area.
Following the morning’s activities, we travelled to meet with Anne Dawson who is chair of the Friends of Bluebell Beck. The intention of the meeting was to establish key topics, such as allocating particular funds and also collaborating with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust on February half-term activities. The Friends of Bluebell Beck are planning to act as hosts on one of the days throughout the event week.
On Wednesday 11th throughout the morning, my supervisor Susan Antrobus and I attended a meeting in Roseworth with several other members of the community. This consisted of local police, a Tesco Champion and members from the Thirteen Housing Group. The discussion which was lead by Susan proposed that we collectively produce an event which would coincide with the Great British Spring Clean between the 3-5th March. At present, the details are yet to be finalised however the event already sounds incredibly promising and beneficial to the local community. To complete the morning, myself and Susan visited the site in Roseworth to evaluate the current status of the litter in the area. We also inspected the trees at Railway Wood which were planted by the Trust around a year ago. It was disappointing to find that approximately 20% had been destroyed, evidently by vandalism. Plans have been produced to restore the area to its former state; however this requires a lot of work on behalf of the trust.
To conclude my introductory week, I was introduced to the Friends of Errington Woods. The purpose of the meeting was to fell trees within the wood. The reasoning behind this, as member Joe Dobbs explained, was to improve the area in which different trees are growing. It is essential for the area that it contains a multitude of trees. Whilst many of these trees are able to grow naturally, some have also been introduced by the group over several years to ensure that there is a mixed woodland containing different aged trees. Specifically, they are aiming to grow more hardwood. This is due to the fact that too many conifers are detrimental to the wildlife that inhabits the area.
I was able to get hands on with the work, whilst also observing the process that each type of tree requires in order to fell it. Alongside the work being carried out by the group, Joe was able to share his knowledge on the woodland through informing me of the issues which they face in maintaining a healthy and vibrant woodland. One significant matter is that certain trees such as the sycamore are usually removed given their ability to rapidly re-grow. Despite this, in Errington Woods it is the sycamore tree which provides the diversity. Pine and larch are a focus of the group and they tend to remove that particular kind from the area to enable it to thrive and create a broader spectrum of tree and age. The work carried out by the group of volunteers is predominantly throughout the winter months and is completed every Friday morning.