Welcome to the CEI’s first ever BogBlog post. We aim to keep our followers up-to-date on the CEI’s work to conserve, promote and enhance the natural environment of the East Ayshire Coalfields. Our regular blog posts will feature highlights from our practical activities out on peat bogs and other habitats, such as notable species sightings and our efforts to improve habitats across the Coalfields. Guest bloggers will include our amazing volunteers, project partners, local stakeholders and a range of specialists including entomologists, hydrologists and conservation scientists. This first post is written by our wonderful intern, Zoe Jamieson, who will be helping us at the CEI to deliver our peatland conservation project 3 days a week until January.
“Hi my name is Zoe Jamieson and I’m going to tell you all about my recent internship with the Coalfield Environmental Initiative (CEI)! From a young age I have always been fascinated with the environment and all the species of plants and animals that live in it. My interest developed over the years from reading environmental news feeds, campaigning against fox hunting and encouraging others that renewable energy is the way forward. I am currently studying environmental management at Glasgow Caledonian University. It is through university that I am now doing an internship with East Ayrshire Council and the CEI to gain experience that will help me in my future career goals. The purpose of this blog is to tell people about my experience of working for an environmental charity and what I hope to gain from doing so.
My first few weeks with the CEI has been very diverse in the range of activities I get to take part in, both in the office and out in the field. In the office I have been completing loads of research about the different species (plants and animals) found in the East Ayrshire Coalfields which I then used to compile fact sheets for the volunteers. I also created signs for an event the CEI hosted known as a Bio Blitz! The Bio Blitz was held at Auchinleck Estate and was super fun to work at as we spent the day collecting a variety of invertebrates and plants to take back to the base camp and identify in order to get an idea of the presence and abundance of species at the Estate. Biological records are a great way of looking at the progress of a species and I have enjoyed filling these out as well as uploading them to a website called iRecord! (iRecord is an online recording website which allows conservationists or anyone to use the data!)
Out on the field the main focus is bog conservation and I have now been to two different sites (Airds Moss and Dalmellington Moss) doing a variety of activities. At Airds Moss I have worked on mapping dams to ensure they are working properly and holding back enough water so that the bog remains wet and healthy. Added to this I took part in a butterfly survey for which we had to catch butterflies, identify them, keep a note of the different species found then release them again. Dalmellington Moss allowed me to work on something new as we were doing a peatland plant survey which consisted of looking at fixed quadrats and identifying the species growing inside them, we took note of the abundance of different plant species and compared them to the ones from the previous year. Working on site has been excellent as my knowledge and recognition of different species has grown considerably as well as this I have now seen first-hand just how important bog conservation is for the different animals that live there and for the overall health of the site.
My main goal for the future is to obtain a career protecting endangered plants and animals as I feel this work is vital for everything and everyone in this world. Working with the CEI will allow this career to be possible as I have gained experience in the subject and I have been given the opportunity to work alongside some amazing people from a variety of different organisations including the Scottish Wildlife Trust and SEPA. This has been particularly interesting for me as it is good to learn about the role everyone plays and to see all the organisations including the CEI come together for a great cause. The environment is our home and with the help of everyone working towards helping it improve through their job or volunteering I hope to see a wider spread of interest in the future to continue this vitally important work! Together we can save a variety of species and create a wonderful environment filled with biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.”