Meet the Volunteer - Bryony Yates

Volunteer Bryony Yates, taken by Josh Hellon

Bryony has been volunteering for us as a Cambridge University Biodiversity Intern. She has been with the monitoring team for 8 weeks and has got involved in everything!

I first volunteered with the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country (where I live) during the last Christmas Holiday and started volunteering with the Wildlife Trust BCN in Cambridge (where I study) shortly after I returned to University.

I love wildlife and always want to do what I can to help protect it. Volunteering with the Wildlife Trust allows me to do just that. I particularly like the Wildlife Trust because it cares for all species: birds, bats, beetles, botanicals etc.

I really enjoy volunteering - particularly during term time: it’s good to get outside, away from my desk, and get some fresh air and exercise.

Over the past few weeks I've helped with work parties (e.g. tree-popping, weeding, planting), guided a Bat Punt Safari and conducted bat surveys and  dormouse box checks with the Ecology Group volunteers. My internship has been incredibly varied: planning and conducting drone surveys of the reserves; analysing the images using Geographical Information Systems (QGIS) software; doing publicity on social media; editing a video of the drone footage; producing posters and logos; surveying heather plots; performing botanical surveys; balsam bashing…perhaps a better question is: what haven’t I done?!

I learn a lot whilst I’m volunteering: about how we monitor wildlife; manage the environment in its best interests and lots of information about the wildlife itself. I meet all sorts of knowledgeable people whilst volunteering and they’ve taught me a lot about the species I’ve encountered. I’ve also learned lots of computer skills whilst on my internship, including QGIS, video editing, and design software.

I really enjoy volunteering - particularly during term time: it’s good to get outside, away from my desk, and get some fresh air and exercise. Sometimes there are wild encounters too! As a bit of a bat-fanatic, I absolutely loved the trapping session we did in Brampton Wood – it’s so rare that you get to see bats up close.

I’m just about to start my second year studying Biological Natural Sciences at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. I’m still undecided about what career path I will ultimately pursue. However, I am certain that I always want to remain active in conservation, either professionally or voluntarily with local groups. I’d also really like to get a bat license someday.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend any training workshops this year. Ironically, it’s proving to be a bit difficult to get involved in conservation without a car, so I struggle get transport to lots of things – workshops included. Often there are clashes with my busy university timetable too (Saturday lectures are a bit of a pain!). I keep looking in the hope I’ll find one I can attend – I’m always interested to learn new things.