The Heart of the Chilterns: Volunteers #4 Hazel Boundy, ‘Tracking the Impact’ wildlife survey volunteer
Hazel began her citizen science volunteer experience by spending a year learning butterfly, bird and plants identification and survey methodology with the ‘Tracking the Impact’ project.
She’s now taken on her own kilometre square area where she’s carrying out regular plant and wildlife surveys. As well as bird surveys she’ll survey butterflies once a month, and plants twice in spring and twice in autumn.
We interviewed Hazel on the phone. She has an infectious enthusiasm for the bird life and wildlife of the Chilterns, and a true love of lifelong learning.
She talks about having been a full time mum for many years, then training as a visual artist – not coming from a science background hasn’t hindered her from becoming a ‘citizen scientist’ on this project. Her volunteering role is part of the Tracking the Impact project, part of Chalk Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership, which has involved many local people in surveying the wildlife of the Chilterns.
What’s been your role so far as a volunteer?
What was your previous experience?
I’ve not really had a career – I brought up the family (3 boys!). At 40 I decided I was fed up with people running ring around me! I did A Levels and then got married. At 40 I went off to Uni, going like a bat out of hell trying to study and falling asleep over the textbooks. I began to realise that research opens a world. I trained as an English teacher but I was useless at classroom discipline so gave that up and went off and did an art degree and then a Masters in community sculpture.
I think I learn more skills on communication through visual arts that I’d learnt anywhere else before doing this volunteering. I learnt about turning a concept into something visual that will communicate to others. I learnt about talking to people and including people in an idea. In a way this is what you do with the surveying you take a concept and turn it into something that people will understand and do something about.
What have you enjoyed and learnt from volunteering?
What tips would you give to someone thinking of volunteering but not sure yet?
Get involved in Tracking the Impact
There’s a wide range of opportunities to get involved, regardless of your levels of experience or the time you have available. You might be an experienced bird watcher or simply a nature or wildlife enthusiast who wants to learn more about Chilterns wildlife and plant life.
Volunteers can benefit from free species ID training from local experts, and support with survey methods and data entry.
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