As part of our donations to charity via the 1% for the planet scheme we help to support the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
Below is a lovely profile of one of their volunteers, Nikki.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust Volunteer Profile
It was June 2011 when I got the bad news, my beautiful harbour front flat had been sold and I had two months to find somewhere else to live. I had been living in Scotland for two years working in a café, running a dog walking and training business and volunteering with the local countryside rangers. Having previously volunteered in some very exciting marine conservation projects in Ireland and the Isle of Man, I thought this might be life giving me an opportunity to delve back into my life long passion for everything marine.
I had been following the fabulous work of Cornwall Wildlife Trust from afar for years, especially their Basking Shark project and Seawatch South West surveys. I had wanted to get involved with this extremely active Trust but never though I would get the chance. But I thought ‘it’s always worth trying for things you really want’, so I sent off my CV. Imagine my surprise, they offered me a 6 month placement helping the marine conservation team with loads of exciting projects; Your Shore project, Seaquest Netsafe, Marine Strandings Network, ERCCIS Intertidal Discovery project and MPA (marine protected areas) campaigning in Cornwall. I couldn’t believe my luck! I packed the car and drove the length of the country without a second thought, from the freezing cold of Scotland to the sunny warmth of Cornwall; I have to say it was a bit of a shock to the system.
I’ve been here now for 3 months and I couldn’t be happier. Everyday is different; one day I’ll be out on the shore helping with a rockpool ramble with the Your Shore project or examining stranded common dolphin for the Marine Strandings Network. The next day I will be building maps of coastal habitats for the Intertidal Discovery Project or organising big events like the Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas Conference 2013.
I’ve also been involved in the Marine Protected Area’s national campaign, pulling together the data needed showing how important these areas are to the marine ecosystem and that they need our protection. I love every minute of it, surprisingly, even managing all the data generated from these projects. The Marine Conservation team are so supportive and accepted me into the Cornwall Wildlife Trust family from day one. They are constantly challenging me, showing me what I’m capable of and trusting me with some very important work.
Working with the Trust has been one of the biggest steps I’ve taken so far on my career towards becoming a Maine Biologist. I’m developing my skills and discovering interests I didn’t know I had, such as public speaking and data management (believe it or not). My confidence in my ability has been growing daily, as well as my passion for the marine environment; I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Niki Clear January 2013