12/02/2018 in RZSS
January has been a busy month for the Wild about Scotland team. We have been to schools across seven local authorities, welcomed our new Education Officer Annabeth (who joins us from the RZSS Edinburgh Zoo Conservation Action Team) and have been on our first trip away of 2018 staying in the historic town of Paisley.
We started the new term with school visits in South and North Lanarkshire and the Scottish Borders. We had some great sessions on board the bus whilst Annabeth began her training about all things Scottish! One of our in-house Education Officers Jess, joined us for a day sharing her expertise on native wildlife. A big thank you for coming along, we hope you enjoyed your day!
The following week we were kept off the road by the snowy weather. We spent the time adding the finishing touches to our new 2018 lessons, which we have now launched to schools across Scotland. Once the snow had melted we headed to Clackmannanshire and Stirling for a week, enjoying the beautiful scenery around Port of Menteith, and having some fantastic discussions with all the classes who took part in our sessions.
During, the final week of January we headed west to visit schools in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, and West Dunbartonshire. It was great to get over to see the west coast again, were looking forward to more trips later in the year!
We often get asked by pupils about ourselves and how we got our jobs. This month we thought we would tell you a bit more about us, and introduce Annabeth properly!
Education Officers: Rosie (left) and Annabeth (right)
I have been a part of the Wild about Scotland team since 2015 and in that time, been to a total of 30 local authorities and 9 islands! I have always been passionate about travelling, nature and helping the environment, which is great because my job involves all three! I graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in Biodiversity Conservation & Management and I have worked on conservation projects in the UK and overseas in Costa Rica, Indonesia and Peru.
Before I started in the Wild about Scotland team, I volunteered at ZSL London Zoo and worked with the RZSS Edinburgh Zoo CAT Team and the superb Spring and Summer Schools. I love my job because I get to work with a fantastic team on the bus and explore all Scotland has to offer, seeing some truly wild places and meeting lots of new people!
What is your favourite Scottish animal?
It is hard to choose, but seeing a puffin for the first time in Orkney last summer was a definite highlight for me! I am originally from Watford so a long way from the coast and the burrows they like to nest in! Sadly, their populations are in decline due to climate change, marine pollution and invasive species such as tree mallow.
What is your top tip for wildlife watching in Scotland?
Always keep an eye out! Even if you are in the middle of the city, it doesn’t mean that wildlife isn’t nearby. Many of our native animals have learnt to adapt and survive in our urban areas - foxes are opportunist and will eat practically anything we leave behind!
What can we do to help the environment?
Plastic pollution is a big problem right now! We can all help by making simple swaps to re-usable shopping bags, coffee cups and water bottles, and refusing a straw with your drink. The more we learn about the amazing wildlife around us the better prepared we are to protect it. Why not get out and see if you can join a local beach clean or conservation group!
Having grown up in rural Northern Ireland surrounded by animals, I’ve always had a curiosity and a passion for wildlife and the environment. Since studying Zoology at Glasgow University, I’ve been involved in numerous conservation projects globally, from working with turtles in the Caribbean to carrying out bear population surveys in Canada. I am extremely excited to be a part of the Wild About Scotland team, and to be given the opportunity to teach kids all over Scotland about the plethora of fantastic animals we can find right here on our doorstep.
What is your favourite Scottish animal and why?
I would have to say that my favourite Scottish animal is the pine marten. I absolutely adore these little guys, especially due to their role as a biological control for grey squirrel populations. Not only are they remarkably well adapted for an arboreal lifestyle, but their hunting of grey squirrels is helping the UK red squirrel bounce back!
What is your top tip for watching wildlife?
I always find that the best wildlife experiences are when the animals are behaving naturally and without human interference, so don’t get too close! Take a pair of binoculars with you and enjoy these wonderful animals at a respectful distance.
What are you most looking forward to about working on the bus in 2018?
Can’t wait to explore more of what Scotland has to offer, especially with our planned trips to the Outer Hebrides and some of the other islands. I love witnessing how enthusiastic young people in Scotland are for wildlife and the environment, so getting to engage with them on a subject I love is brilliant.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about us,
See you next month!
Rosie & Annabeth