So, I’ve started up in Scotland and I am contributing to a monthly blog that can be found here: http://blogs.tcv.org.uk/natural-communities/2014/02/03/2014-year-bug/ I will put up my posts on this blog as well, so if you fancy hearing some interesting things about wildflowers and pollinators this year, have a read up.
“…I’ve started out as a trainee with Buglife as part of TCV’s Natural Communities programme. I have moved to Stirling from the heart of Kent where I grew up amongst fruit orchards, on the boundary between the chalky North Downs and the clay based Weald. The most striking thing for me since my move has been, therefore, the vistas of the rocky mountainous outcrops that loom over Striling to the north and east.
A number of things from my past have led me to this traineeship, from both the ‘Natural’ side and the ‘Community’ side. I recently finished an MSc in Ethnobotany in Kent, a discipline which is based in assessing different knowledge systems and perspectives on the world of plants. My learning and work was broad; touching on the worldview of the Ese’eja in Peru who perceive forest plants to embody powerful spirits that must be negotiated with caution, to the Palawan of the Philippines who say that bees come from an Upper Celestial Plane and will only come to our world if treated appropriately, to the Botanists of Kew who see the plant world through the beauty of flower parts. During this time I learned about scientific approaches to the plant world, as well as indigenous and folk perspectives. I then went on to carry out a research project which assessed residents’, gardeners’ and beekeepers’ knowledge of bee plants and bee declines in Canterbury, Kent.
On the ‘commmunity’ front I have particular experience working with people from disadvantaged or vulnerable backgrounds; having spent time working with The Big Issue and various Asylum Seeker support groups. I hope to engage similar groups this year and use the world of bugs and plants to promote learning and wellbeing.
These two threads have led me to this traineeship and I hope to bring them together in some sort of cohesive (or more likely, haphazard) fashion. Engaging people is something I love to do, and pollinators and plants fascinate me no end, so hopefully something good can come of that. I’m very much looking forward to working with such well established experts this year and learning as much as I can.”