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Our work experience at College Lake

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Friday 29th May 2015 by collegelake

On Monday the 11th of May we started our work experience at College Lake.

Written by Lorna Piggott and Tom Hood

Work Experience Students



By Diccon ProctorMaria, the Administrative Officer, introduced us to the history of College Lake as well as to the many lovely and helpful people who work here. After this we went on a guided walk around the reserve with Diccon, the Developing Green Talent trainee. We first stopped off at a marshy area where we heard a reed warbler, as well as seeing tadpoles, damselfly nymphs, Caddis fly larvae, pond skaters and the exuvia of a damsel fly nymph. Next we visited the Octagon Hide where we saw a pair of Little Ring Plovers, an adorable Lapwing chick, and some Redshanks and Shelducks. We carried on around the reserve and Diccon pointed out emerging orchid shoots and a skylark singing. Finally we came upon a murky pond which hosted about twenty smooth newts.

After lunch we checked the livestock at Pitstone Fen. The ponies were accompanied by an orphaned deer called “Titch” – he was very cute! The afternoon was rounded-off by getting rid of some of the weeds that would inhibit the wildflower growth in the Visitor Centre banks. We removed thistles, stinging nettles and monstrous dock leaves.

On Tuesday we linked up with the regular College Lake volunteer work party for some tasks around the education woods area. First we planted a large tree that bird feeders would be able to hang off. Next we covered up some unsightly blue piping with logs, moss and mud. Then we laid wood chippings on a path so it would be more accessible for schoolchildren and families and less slippery in wet weather. Lastly we checked the livestock with Owain, the College Lake warden, and noticed one of the Hebridean sheep had a limp – it was only a minor injury so hopefully it will recover.

By Diccon ProctorOn Wednesday we joined in with a Chiltern Society work party and drove round to the far side of the reserve. The morning was spent digging four foot holes for fence strainer posts to go into. Although it was hard work in the heat, it was very enjoyable. We learnt how to use lots of new tools safely and effectively, including tampers, post-hole diggers and crowbars. After lunch we cleaned and filled the bird feeders and cleared branches from the paths.

Thursday was a rainy day; we spent the morning off-site at Calvert Jubilee nature reserve painting the inside of a bird hide. After finishing this we clipped the brambles that were blocking the track, and drove back to College Lake.

Friday saw us putting up post and rail fencing with the Friday work party, and we also did some scrub clearance. We removed rose, bramble, and hawthorn to allow wildflowers to grow. From the top track we saw ten Canada goose goslings walking past and five Coot chicks on the lake below.

We loved our week at College Lake because the tasks were fun and we enjoyed working outdoors. The staff and volunteers were lovely and made us feel very welcome. We are extremely grateful to all of the staff who put so much effort into ensuring we had a fantastic week.

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