So I’ve been in my new job for little over a month now. I’ve learned loads, I’ve met loads of people, I’ve eaten loads of cake, and I’ve been told off for what I say on social media (a new personal record – 3 weeks in and got told off…)
I’ve been taking time in this job to stand and stop and look and listen and see and just watch the world. I’ve been quite lucky to be rewarded pretty much every time I do this. I spent ten minutes watching swallows and house martins swooping low over the paths to catch their dinner; I’ve held hawker dragonflies, fresh from emerging and drying their wings (I moved them off the path to safety); I’ve moved baby toads off the road; seen small tortoiseshell butterfly caterpillars and six spot burnet moth caterpillars for the first time; I’ve shown people the wonders of butterflies feeding on the buddleia near the office – we counted three types of butterfly and two types of bee in less than five minutes – and it’s just little things like this that makes me happy and grateful to be working in this role.
Having the skills and knowhow to just look and see, and to identify things and then tell, show and enthuse other people – there is no greater joy. I love being able to share my passion and interest with people. I love that people leave the park with a little bit of passion and newfound knowledge. I love that I have met a group of people who know way more than I do and that I can learn from them on a daily basis.
Being part of the team, I still feel very new, and I’m very aware that I’m nowhere near their skill level yet. I’m still finding my feet and learning as I go, and picking up new skills where I can. I’ve been trying to get involved with practical wok wherever I can – I helped install a gate post, some cycle racks, removed a bin and a life buoy, have coppiced some rather tall hazel and then used them to make stakes, and I’ve also learnt how to use machinery and drive with a trailer on site. The other day I reversed with a trailer and didn’t break anything!! I've used a mower for the first time IN MY LIFE, and I used a strimmer! It's all very exciting.
It’s been such a fun and varied first month; I’ve helped lead and have led some school groups doing pond dipping and mini beast hunting, I saw my first ever newt baby (an ‘eft’), I’ve put up a bird box and I’ve started to settle into Doing Things. I’ve spent a couple of weeks being very new to it all and being not very sure of what I can do and what my limits are – I’ve needed quite a bit of guidance to get my head around things but I’m learning slowly, and my confidence is growing. Slotting into a team who know what they’re doing and when they’re doing it hasn’t been easy but I’m doing my best.
The collage below is some pictures of bugs that I’ve found, seen or held so far. Quite a lot of variation, and that’s not even all of them!