My eventful first month on the job…

My first month as Saltscape Trainee at Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT) has been busy, varied and enlightening.

To begin with I had to get to grips with Saltscape, and to understand the role which CWT will be playing in this collaborative project. At the Trust we are focusing on the ecological aspect of Saltscape, by restoring a number of existing Local Wildlife Sites along the Weaver Valley, which are currently neglected and over grown. We are striving to transform these sites back to the vibrant and diverse habitats they once were, and therefore we hope to make more space for wildlife, such as the wonderful reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus (pictured above) – a summer visitor to UK reedbeds, which is one of the habitats we will be restoring.

In only a few weeks I have already learnt a variety of new skills and gained further valuable work experience in the industry. I have conducted site visits and surveys, and liaised with landowners regarding the project in order to gain support and permission to access their land. These are all vital skills which will help me succeed in my future career in conservation.

I have also gained experience in dealing with contractors, who have been carrying out habitat management work on Cliff Brook Meadows in Acton Bridge. This site is home to an area of species rich grassland which, in the absence of active management, was beginning to be lost to encroaching scrub. The site has now been cleared of the unwanted scrub and had boundary fences replaced. The next step will to get cattle grazing this site – when grazing is done at appropriate times of year it can be a highly effective, natural management tool.

Another important element of Saltscape is engagement with local people. I thoroughly enjoyed helping at a recent community event held at Owley Wood in Weaverham. The aim of the day was to connect with members of the local community and spread the word about the work we are doing as part of Saltscape. I had a brilliant time making ‘bogart’ (clay faces on trees) with children and adults! Here are a few examples from the day.

It’s been a great start to a new job, and I cannot wait to see what the next five months will bring!