A Volunteer Perspective – Megan Shersby

By Megan Shersby, MISE Project Volunteer. You can learn more about Megan’s ecological adventures on her blog, Barcode Ecology, and she can also be found on Twitter

I first came across the MISE project during my third year at Aberystwyth University. Whilst I was busy with studying and a part-time job, I managed to occasionally volunteer as I knew that the experience would be fantastic and allow me to develop skills and knowledge that I wouldn’t gain at university. I was able to assist on a few of the projects including searching for dormice and otter spraints, putting up hair tubes for red squirrels and pine martens, and analysing the diets of otters.

One of the otter spraints analysed by Megan during an otter diet workshop.

One of the otter spraints analysed by Megan during an otter diet workshop.

As well as learning about the research behind the work, and more about the study animals, this volunteering also gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing people. The officers involved in the project, who are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, and of course, other volunteers. It is always a joy to spend time with people with similar passions, especially when you can learn from each other.

The time spent volunteering on this project has been brilliant as it has enabled me to apply for conservation jobs, leading to fieldwork in South Africa and more recently, working with Wildlife Trusts. I now work mainly in the engagement side of conservation, and volunteering with the MISE project has given me the confidence to talk in greater depth about the species involved and inspire others to find out more about them. As a result of the project, I am confident at identifying otter spraint, and it features often in my blog posts and in a video on my upcoming YouTube channel. It is safe to say that my experience volunteering with the project has been extremely positive and has given me an incredible boost in terms of skills, knowledge and confidence.

P1090644

Megan attended a red squirrel survey led by Jenny McPherson (former MISE Project Officer with the Vincent Wildlife Trust) and Huw Denman.