Ken’s Diary Chapter Nine

Another inspirational piece from Ken Davies, this time about the exploits of the Wild Skills group! Over to Ken….


 ‘Quiet please – Filming in Progress’

I arrive at the Lyndon Centre for my usual Sunday afternoon shift and find Kayleigh and her volunteers talking in hushed whispers at the counter. What could be going on? They point round the corner and silently mime to me the fact that a group of young film-makers are making a recording in front of the big screen. I take a furtive peek, and see nine teenagers, all smartly dressed in blue polo shirts and all concentrating hard on the task in hand. Two presenters are giving detailed accounts of Osprey life in Rutland. And a very professional job they are doing too!

This is yet another example of the excellent work being done here in Rutland to encourage young people to get involved in practical conservation, and produce quality work which will persuade others, both in the UK and further afield, that Nature is indeed a cool way to discover new skills and talents, a variety of interests, and perhaps even higher education and career opportunities. These young people here today are all members of ‘Wild Skills’, run by Volunteer Co-ordinator Becky Corby, and assisted by volunteers Linda and Gary. They have already learnt how to make fences out of willow, coppice aspen trees, make and erect nest-boxes and set small mammal traps. They know too the first steps in becoming a bird ringer. The group’s latest task, and the one they are working on right now, is to produce a short film about the Rutland Water Osprey Project, and wildlife at Rutland Water, which can be used by the Project Team to connect with young people in the UK and abroad.

During a break in proceedings, two of the Wildskills Team, Abi and Charlie, chat to me about their Project. Their mission statement is pretty impressive :

‘Young people are the future of the conservation of the UK’s wildlife. If we work together we can make a difference by helping to protect endangered species such as Ospreys, and by looking after the environment that Ospreys and other wildlife depend upon. We would like to share our knowledge of Ospreys at Rutland Water Nature Reserve with other young people, to explain why they should help, and how they can protect our wildlife.’

Roles and tasks have been allotted to group members according to their strengths, talents and skills. Amy is already a raptor expert and will be in charge of research. Calum is a musician, film-maker and photographer. Ryan is also a photographer, and a budding artist and designer. Abi already has vast knowledge of the Osprey Project, and is a born organiser and natural presenter. Charlie has already drawn some excellent Osprey studies, enjoys writing and storyboarding, and has some experience of bird ringing. Daisy and Ellie both enjoy script-writing and editing, while Dominic has skills in IT and filming, as well as film editing.

It’s a formidable team, and I just have time to ask them to pause for a photo outside the Centre before Linda calls them together for a final briefing. I learn that they have been working on their film at their regular Sunday morning meetings since May, and they are on schedule for completion by the end of August. Final details of the launch event at the end of August are still to be finalised, but I am already certain it will be a spectacular celebration of the achievements of a dedicated group of young conservationists and their similarly committed team of adult supervisors. We are all so grateful for what they are doing! Rutland’s Ospreys are in safe hands for years to come!

Another very encouraging surprise today ! A lovely letter from two Year 7 students from Spratton Hall School Tom and Myfanwy, on behalf of the whole year group, thanking Lucy, Judith, Tony and me for taking the Osprey Roadshow to them a week or so ago! We had a great time – you were a terrific, enthusiastic audience and joined in all the activities with skill and energy! So pleased your special favourite activity was the debate where we asked you : ‘Was it right to translocate Ospreys to Rutland Water?’ Despite opposition from some quarters, your answer was a resounding ‘YES!!’ And I liked your ideas for the second ‘Ozzie’s Migration’ story – some of them will definitely appear in the book! The Osprey Project Team wishes to express its sincere thanks to the Headteacher and staff of Spratton Hall for allowing us to come in to meet Year 7, and also for their very generous donation to the Project’s funds – very much appreciated.

All this, and my regular Sunday afternoon shift in Wader Scrape hide has not even started yet! People at home sometimes say to me : ‘Don’t you ever get bored, going there week after week and watching the Ospreys?’ The answer is of course an emphatic ‘No!’ – but there is a lot more to being at Rutland Water Nature Reserve than watching the Ospreys (though that’s a big enough thrill in itself!). Just watch the Wild Skills group at work, or come with us on an Osprey Roadshow School Visit, or a Guided Walk, an Osprey Cruise, or a visit to the fabulous Birdfair (August 15th – 17th)………..

Welcome to the wonderful, ever changing, ever challenging, ever thrilling world of Rutland Water Nature Reserve!

The Wild Skills group at Lyndon!

The Wild Skills group at Lyndon! (Photo by Linda Jones)

Abi and Amy presenting in the Lyndon Visitor Centre

Abi and Amy presenting in the Lyndon Visitor Centre (Photo by Charlotte Hewitt)

Stoat, taken by Amy at the Lyndon Centre

Stoat at the Lyndon Centre (Photo by Amy Hall)



2 responses to “Ken’s Diary Chapter Nine”

  1. Mike Simmonds

    Kayleigh/Ken. What a fantastic example these young people and their tutors are setting to their peers. They deserve every support. I’m sure we all look forward to seeing their completed film.

  2. Sheila FE

    I think it is brilliant the way everyone at ROP inspires young people, whether it be at home in the UK or in Africa. I have just given my four year old great niece a copy of ‘Ozzie’s Migration’ story’ and a soft toy osprey which calls. I am hoping my passion for osprey will pass down to her. Good luck to the school in their project, and I hope we are able to see their finished film at some time.