Sometimes I’m not the most optimistic person in the world so my aim of this post is to round up some of my achievements this year, mainly so I can prove to myself that I have achieved something. I also want to set some targets for next year and talk about some of the things I am looking forward to. So in no particular order, here are some of my achievements of 2015…
Paid / Voluntary Work
- I volunteered for most of the year, one day a week for the Vale Countryside Volunteers . We created / managed everything from biodiverse ponds, grasslands and woodlands, to otter holts.
- I carried out a season of reptile and amphibian surveys for an ecological consultancy and collected in some of their insect samples too. I really enjoyed getting paid for being outside.
- I made a valuable contribution to the work of my local records centre / county council ecology service through c60 hours of voluntary work with them
- I wrote a piece on solitary bees which will be published in ‘Spring’, a book by the Wildlife Trusts which comes out in February
- I was commissioned to write a introduction to solitary bees for the Wildlife Trusts
- I led on the creation of a bee hotel in York, which attracted media attention
- I have been an active member of BSBI’s meetings and communications committee
- I worked a lot part time for the Buckinghamshire County Council as an ecologist, working on planning applications and a number of my own projects including; assessing the feasibility of pollinator networks, record extraction from ecology reports and redesigning the ecology pages of the County Council’s website. I will be leaving this position at the end on January to move onto other things…
- At the end of January I will be starting a traineeship with Buglife and Natural England!
- I successfully coordinated the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s New Year Plant Hunt
- I spoke at three public events, which is a huge deal for me!
- A talk on solitary bees for the Buckinghamshire Beekeepers Society
- A talk on biological recording from a young persons perspective for the National Biodiversity Network’s Conference
- A talk on the New Year Plant Hunt for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s Annual Exhibition Meeting
- I represented the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland at Big Nature Day
- I co-led two invertebrate walks for the Wildlife Trusts at the Birdfair
- I was an expert at the FSC Amersham Bioblitz
- I helped run the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centres annual recorder’s meeting
- I helped run the Garden Bioblitz again
- I represented A Focus on Nature at the Response For Nature Launch Event
- I carried out a full season of butterfly transects on two sites, Grangelands and The Rifle Range, for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust
- I carried out baseline surveys for a charity who are trying to create a wildflower meadow on an old allotment site
- I recorded lots of species in Norfolk which were new to me.
- I submitted over 3000 records over 100 species. It is interesting to analyse the groups that I have submitted records for through the years
- I passed my driving test on my first attempt, giving myself some independence
- Meeting lots of wonderful naturalists, some of which are great friends now
- I went wild swimming in the middle of London!
- I have posted loads of blog posts this year, including guest blogging for lots of other people!
- I have been on lots of training courses, for all sorts of taxonomic groups
- I will hopefully soon be a Graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
- I did something wild every day for 30 days for the ’30 days wild’ challenge
- One of my photos was highly commended in the British Ecological Society’s Photographic Competition
What Will 2016 Bring?
- 2016 will kick off with a bang during the New Year Plant Hunt
- Starting my new traineeship with Buglife and Natural England , the first week is in Scotland and that will be awesome
- Continuing to contribute to BSBI’s work through the Meetings and Communications Committee
- More work with the Wildlife Trusts to finish my work on bees
- Going to the Birders Against Wildlife Crime conference
- Recording lots of species and developing a specialism in entomology while still being able to identify lots of other taxa
- Taking on a role as fact sheet editor for the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society
Targets for 2016
- Get my first scientific paper published
- Submit over 4000 biological records in 2016 of 1500 species
- Reach 2000 species recorded in Britain
- Do some proper wild swimming, maybe even some skinny dipping haha
- Keep a wildlife journal for the whole year
- Post at least 40 blog posts
- Post some more poetic posts trying to put into words my experiences with the natural world, such as this one, this one and the one on bees which will be published in a book next year
- Do more to support A Focus on Nature
- Learn how to card beetles
Any more suggested targets would be welcomed
Thank you all for following my journey this year, I look forward to sharing my journey with you all in 2016