Field Notes: Improving knowledge and field skills

Published: 22nd March 2019

Apithanny Bourne volunteered with our North East Scotland Members' Group at Glen Tanar

Apithanny Bourne mending fence 2018

The North East Scotland Members' Group work party was recommended by a friend. At the time I hadn't heard of the John Muir Trust however, as I became familiar with their work and objectives, I quickly became supportive of the charity.

I am a passionate conservationist and environmental scientist, however I had been living in the city and my job had become very desk based. I wanted to get out into the Cairngorms National Park at the weekend and do some hands-on conservation work, while meeting like-minded people.

I'm a strong advocate of this sort of work, which can have a quick and measurable impact on the environment (in comparison with long conservation strategic meetings which I am also very much familiar with!) 

I have gained so much from the Glen Tanar work parties. It has been pivotal in my career as a scientist through improving my knowledge and field skills. I have gained so much enjoyment from the experience and also made some friends for life in the form of the other Glen Tanar "regulars". When I left Aberdeen last year I wrote a blog post about my experiences.

Glen Tanar gave me my first golden eagle, white tailed eagle, rose chafer beetles and many more. The wildlife is spectacular, and so are the people. 

Our tree enclosures over the years have provided evidence on the impact of high deer populations on natural regeneration. Our long term project to remove a broken and unsightly deer fence near the top of the glen has also made a huge visual improvement on the landscape.

If you are thinking about volunteering at the Trust, don't hesitate! If you are already working or interested in the sector, then your skills will improve drastically. And if you aren't, your eyes will be opened to the incredible wild landscapes still to be found in Scotland (and the wonderful work going on to protect them).

Find out more about volunteering at the John Muir Trust.

Photo shows Apithanny mending fences during a North East Scotland Local Members' Group volunteer work party at Glen Tanar.