Students studying Countryside Management in Year 1 and 2 of their BTEC Diploma at Bridgwater College have completed practical work at Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve on the Avalon Marshes as part of an ongoing schedule of works to support Somerset Wildlife Trust’s work in that area.
The works have included pollarding willows along the droves, mechanically chipping willow and birch and felling small trees to open up new habitat areas.
Course Leader Alan Sinclair said: “Contributing to the wider environment and specific Nature Reserve management is always a very positive experience for the students, especially where it offers opportunities to develop new skills. The ongoing practical sessions are allowing students to use different tools, learn new techniques and see first-hand the input required to manage some elements of Westhay Moor.
Some students already volunteer there as part of their work experience modules and were able to share their experiences along with top tips for wildlife spotting with the group.”
Phil Thorpe, Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “Practical management of our nature reserves is essential in order to maintain a mosaic of habitats capable of supporting a diverse range of species. Bridgwater College have provided valuable assistance with habitat management operations on Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve, one of Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Flagship sites, which is nationally important for its rare habitats and species. Developing and supporting the next generation of conservation specialists is also extremely important to us in terms of ensuring that the good work that we do now is maintained and built upon in the future, and the wonderful places that we manage remain as wildlife rich as they were in generation gone by.”