Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Introducing Anna and Lira: our new LTVs

Hello everyone and welcome to our first blog! We are the new LTVs (long-term volunteers) Anna and Lira and we are super excited to keep you updated about everything we get up to on the island!

Here we are on our first early morning gas run to Martins Haven, Anna (left) and Lira (right).

We both arrived early July and will be staying on the island till October - so we will be involved in lots of different tasks, from daily welcome talks to helping out with research around the island. Can’t wait to keep you all updated 😊


Hi everyone, my name's Lira and I’ll tell you a little bit more about me and how I’ve ended up on Skomer Island, it’s been a complete rollercoaster! I’m the first generation in my family to be born in the UK as we are originally from Latin America (Colombia and Chile) but my parents moved to London as children and have lived in London ever since! Against the odds, I have always felt a huge sense of connection to nature and from a young age I knew I wanted to work with wildlife. 

 I enjoy birding in my free time.

Growing up, I never really saw people like myself in green spaces and definitely didn’t see anyone who looked or sounded like me on the nature programmes which was a huge challenge growing up as someone wanting to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. Living in London also provided some challenges as there aren’t many opportunities for people seeking experience in conservation, and getting an office job in the heart of London is what most people in the city aspire to do (and what is actually encouraged in schools). I decided I would stick with my dreams of working in the field and although I was told that becoming a vet is the best option for an animal lover in London, I went to study Zoology at the University of Reading. 

After graduating, unfortunately I started to believe that maybe conservation wasn’t for me. I had the passion but I just couldn’t get my foot in the door with experience. Volunteering away from home wasn’t an option either as I just couldn’t afford it after university.  I simply gave up for about a year and got a ‘normal’ 9-5 job. Although the pandemic was a scary and lonely time, it really put things into perspective for me and reminded me what was truly important to me. Wildlife. Nothing makes me feel more whole and happier than wildlife. I spent the months of lockdown applying for conservation roles and creating wildlife opportunities for myself. 

Me giving a welcome talk to visitors arriving on the island.

A few months into lockdown I got offered an opportunity with BirdLife Malta as a nature reserves assistant and ringing assistant. I couldn’t believe it! Since then, I’ve also completed a traineeship with the London Wildlife Trust and now I am at Skomer! Since arriving, I’ve held welcome talks, helped with habitat management, assisted in bird ringing and much more! I have encountered so much wildlife already and feel super lucky to have seen the last of the puffins before they head out to sea. Everyone, from the staff to the volunteers, have been incredibly welcoming and have really made me feel at home. Very important when living on such a small island! With every day being so different to the last, I should have experienced tons by my next blog and can’t wait to tell you all about it! 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned! Love lira x


Hello! I’m Anna. I’m really excited to be a long-term volunteer on Skomer. I have been really enjoying my time here so far, keeping busy with welcome talks, brush cutting, maintenance tasks and lots of refreshing evening swims in North Haven (it’s been a very hot first few weeks!). I’ve also been lucky enough to help out with some of the ringing and weighing of the island’s seabirds, including Gulls, Manx Shearwater, and my new favourite – the tiny Storm Petrels! I love how each day is so varied here. It’s also great meeting so many lovely people; Skomer is a busy place as weekly volunteers and researchers come and go.

 Enjoying a Skomer sunset with the puffins.

Before coming to Skomer in July I had never been before and was really excited to see what island life was really like. This June, I completed my undergraduate Zoology degree at the University of Sheffield. I chose to study Zoology after hearing that such a course existed whilst volunteering at the Birdfair in Rutland during my summer holidays. I have always enjoyed watching and learning all about wildlife but going along to Birdfair really opened up the world of conservation to me and I realised it was something I could make a career out of. During uni I put this passion for nature into volunteering with the conservation society at weekends. 

After my 2nd year of uni I did a year long placement at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Washington (North East England). During this year I learnt so much about what it takes to manage a nature reserve from practical habitat management and species monitoring to visitor engagement, I was in my element! My placement also allowed me to really develop my wildlife identification skills and I started to really enjoy identifying plants and wildflowers – something I will continue to work on here on Skomer. 

In my spare time I love to go off on camping adventures.

Whilst at uni and back home (North Yorkshire) I spend much of my free time out and about walking, quite often with my life packed into my backpack, off on yet another camping adventure!

Spending my summer on Skomer is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get stuck into even more over the coming months. I look forward to updating the blog!

Anna 😊

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