Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Wood anemone by Mark Hamblin/2020Vision

Who are the volunteers who keep Finemere Wood as a haven for wildlife, and why do they volunteer for BBOWT? Charlotte introduces you to another of her trusty team.

Finemere Wood: bathed in glorious springtime sunshine; tantalising melodies of birdsong - blackcap, goldcrest, bullfinch, chiffchaff; mesmerising spring flowers - primroses, violets, and carpets of wood anemone like never before. The volunteers have reunited once again.

Jacqui, a relatively new member to the group, cheerfully and effortlessly found her niche in the well-established team. And thus, another unique and vital piece of the Finemere volunteer jigsaw puzzle is slotted into place.

Volunteer at Finemere Wood

Jacqui, volunteer at Finemere Wood. Photo by Charlotte Karmali

Working in the pharmaceutical industry for many years, Jacqui managed and directed global clinical research projects, which entailed a great deal of travel. Her focus latterly was upon cancer treatments where it was hugely rewarding when a drug was finally approved and released to patients.

Having had a lifelong passion for conservation and wildlife, with childhood heroes Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall and Peter Scott inspiring her interest, Jacqui often thought she should have pursued a career in the outdoors with nature. Now, early retirement has enabled her to immerse herself in this world.

Becoming a BBOWT member led Jacqui to my blogs, and thus she decided to join the Finemere workers. Here she enjoys being part of a team whilst benefitting from fresh air, exercise and nature as she learns about managing woodland.

Brown hare

Brown hare by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

Photography is another love of Jacqui’s, and very good at it she is too! Involved with the Amersham Photographic Society, this talented woman seeks out photography exhibitions and courses wherever she can. Nature, wildlife and landscape being her genre have led her to extraordinary places, such as the Tatra mountains of Slovakia to photograph wild brown bear. An ambition to photograph the brown hare may be realised nearer to home, as they can be spotted out on the Finemere meadows.

Quite an artist too, Jacqui can spend many a happy hour in London, visiting galleries and enjoying the splendours of city life with her two London-based daughters.

Favourite Finemere species? The marbled white butterfly and the scarlet elf cup fungus. Favourite Finemere activities? Chatting to fellow volunteers over coffee and cake (in those bygone pre-Covid days when we could share food); gathering seeds from wild flowers and spreading them around the site; cleaning the algae ridden information signs (at last! I have been waiting for a volunteer like this) and securing deer fences.

And it just so happens that at this first Finemere gathering of the year, many of these activities were on offer. Areas cleared of scrub in the autumn must be fenced in to protect new growth from the munching of deer; signs need a good scrubbing and much chatter is clearly essential.

Jacqui volunteers regularly in a variety of other settings - for BBOWT’s Hedgerow Havens project, and in a Rennie Grove charity shop, where the team were honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service some years ago. Her most favourite volunteering activity was as a Games Maker at the 2012 Olympic games in London which involved meeting and greeting, checking tickets and crowd management. It was a great experience and she didn’t want it to end.

Now she has Finemere Wood, which will never end, not that it’s a competition, I’m just saying….

There are many volunteering opportunities with BBOWT. If you'd like to get involved with us, please contact us to find out more about the different opportunities we have.

Contact us