Ascension : Ascension Island Conservation Department
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 09.08.2012 (Article Archived on 23.08.2012)
Our second week in with the Explorers.
Contributed by Natasha Williams
Our second week in with the Explorers. The activities for the day was to identify the marine life at Comfortless Cove, unfortunately due to poor sea conditions, the children were then transported to English Bay where we carried out our activities.
Safety talk by Mr Duncan to the Explorers
Again the children were put into groups: The Tiger Eels, Beach Creatures and Marine Hunters. A safety talk was given by our life guard Mr Colin Duncan to everyone. We then proceeded with the day. Whilst a group excitedly went into the water the others made sand castles for the sand castle competition on the beach. The groups then swapped so that the others who were very eager, to have a go at identifying the marine life.
Even though activities were delayed at the start of the day due to sea conditions, all tasks were successfully completed and everyone had an enjoyable day!
We would like to say a few BIG thank you’s to the following people:
Thank you to Mr Colin Duncan for being our life guard for the day and making sure everyone was safe; to swimmers Jolene Sim, Charlie Dooley and Kerry Benjamin; to parents and volunteer Patricia Reynolds for keeping an eye on the children on the beach, and to Patricia for judging the sand castle competition – won by the ‘Beach Creatures’. Thank you to the Ascension Island Government Fire and Sea Rescue Team for being on stand- by and the loaning of the life rings; to Penny Peters for checking the sea conditions at English Bay; and to George Greentree and Christabelle Wade for helping with the transport. – Very much appreciated!
We would like to welcome Vivienne Booth to the team. She will be assisting with the AIG RSPB Seabird Restoration Project for the next upcoming weeks.
“Hi, I’m Viv and I have come over to Ascension for a month to help the Conservation Department with the seabird monitoring.
At home in the UK, I work for RSPB as an Ecologist for our nature reserves, specialising in seabirds. As well as the seabird work, I provide ecological support to the RSPB reserves in South East England. That means that people come to me with questions which can be anything from: ‘What is the best way to count the birds in my woodland?’ to ‘How do we design new wet grassland for breeding waders?’
There are around 25 reserves in the South East, covering lots of different habitats. Heathlands, woodlands, wet grasslands, reedbeds, shingle, salt marsh and all the bits in between. We manage these sites not just for birds, but also for all the important wildlife that lives there, and for people to visit as well.
There is one other RSPB reserve that I work closely with and that is Coquet Island in North East England. I know Coquet very well as I spent three summers living there while studying for my Ph.D. on common and Arctic terns. It is a tiny island, just 5 ha, but it is an extremely important site for breeding seabirds.
Coquet wasn’t the first island I lived on though. When I had just graduated from University I volunteered to help a project on St Kilda, which, at 40 miles away from the islands of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, is the most remote place in the UK (although close by Ascension standards!).
More recently in 2011, I started to get involved with some International work when I went to Myanmar (Burma) to help with a spoon-billed sandpiper survey. I returned to Myanmar for another survey in January this year. The team were trying to establish the size of the population of these tiny wading birds wintering in the Gulf of Mottoma (Martaban) and also training some staff from the local Birdlife affiliate to survey for these birds. They are critically endangered, with only a few hundred left in the world, but if we understand where they feed in the winter we can help to protect them.
So if you see me around on Ascension and want to ask anything about the conservation work here, in the UK or in Myanmar, come and say hello!”
Please be advised that due to on-going field work the Conservation Office will open from 7.30am -10am during week days. We open as normal on Saturdays, 10am-12noon, signs will be posted on the door when the office is closed. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Natasha Williams or Jolene Sim. Ascension Island Conservation Department. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org