Monday, 2 September 2013

Youth Rangers

This weekend we were joined by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Youth Rangers. They were here to help us Wardens with our boardwalk replacement project, or should I say boardwalk demolition project.

James 'the Jay' Lasusa and Mark 'the Manx Shearwater' Bond ripping the old boardwalk to pieces.

At the start of the day on Saturday we briefed the Youth Ranger team and gave everybody a bird name to help us remember all their names. Therefore James Lasusa became James the Jay and Tom Moses became Tom the Tit. The rest of the team were:
Beth the Blue Tit
Mark the Manx Shearwater
Nicola the Nuthatch
Dylan the Duck
Gareth the Great Crested Warbler
Dan the Dodo
and Dan the Dove

The whole team including three Wildlife Trust staff: Eddie the eagle, Bee the Balearic Shearwater and Helen the Hawfinch 
We got a lot of work done and managed to remove the old boardwalk completely, ready for the new one to go in. We explained to the kids why we have boardwalks, so we hope that as well as learning some practical skills and the enjoyment of hard work, they also learned a bit about working on and managing a nature reserve.

Dan the Dove wheel barrowing tools out on to site. 

Will the wagtail clearing the path in the foreground and the rangers working behind.
Nicola the Nuthatch and Beth the Blue Tit made up signs to tell people about the works. 

Here is what Tom Moses, Discovery Ranger for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has to report about the trip:

PCNPA Youth Rangers – Skomer trip 31/8 – 1/9 2013

On their arrival back in Martins Haven, the Youth Rangers and Discovery Rangers sat and finished off their food to save carrying it any further and reflected on their visit.

Everyone had seriously enjoyed their trip and had been struck by Skomer’s beauty and amazing wildlife as well as the sense of remoteness, peace and tranquillity. Some of the young people found this completely new experience a bit unsettling at first; feeling isolated and thought they might get bored.
Proof that they didn't get bored (at least Dan the Dodo didn't anyway)

After a day out there however, things had changed; comments such as ‘it’s given me a new perspective on life – the isolation gave me space to think more’ and ‘I’d rather live on that little island than our busy crowded one’ showed they had begun to understand  why its such a special place.
Seeing the Manxies, both in the middle of the night and reaching into burrows to pick the chicks up, along with the hordes of rabbits and slow-worms were the real highlights. The peace and quiet and the views also scored high. Oh, and the Frisbee-ing until it got stuck on the Farm roof.... (thanks for getting it back Will!).

As well as what they saw, the Youth Rangers enjoyed helping make a meaningful difference to the island , and in a final no holds barred review chat it emerged how the experience had helped them all at a personal level in different ways- the intensity of their experience had pushed their comfort zones and resulted in realisations about themselves.

One, previously very shy, newish group member had really opened up and now felt much more part of the team. Another had realised that he could take much more responsibility for helping with all the tasks that need doing and would make more effort in future.

Perhaps the best comment, agreed with by all was ‘We’re all individuals who really only have one thing in common – being out here. We love it!’. This will probably end up being the group motto from now on.... Tom and Mark felt this had been the best Youth Ranger weekend to date for all kind of reasons- Cheers Skomer!! (We’ll be back – next weekend OK?)
The Skomer Team had a great time too and we are very grateful for all the hard work the Youth Rangers did. We love their new motto and might even use it ourselves. Come and visit again and all the best.

Ed and Bee

Skomer Wardens

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