The Start of my ART Journey

Heather Downer
December 13, 2021

I’m finding it difficult to believe that I have been working for the Aire Rivers Trust for three months now. Time really does fly when you're having fun! So much has already happened that I wanted to take a moment to share my favourite bits so far as well as all the things that I am still looking forward to doing as my placement goes on.

I think the best place to start has to be with our wonderful volunteers. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all. Thank you for making me feel so welcome and bearing with me as I find my feet. The amount that has been achieved even in this short period of time has blown me away. The range of work I have been able to participate in is huge, but my favourite bits have to include coppicing, wildflower meadow conservation, and in a very weird way, path laying. Although I am yet to master how to use a billhook properly, I am determined that by the time I have finished my placement I will be able to use one with some degree of success.

Our finished path at Aireworth Grove

Going out to help with Japanese Knotweed treatment has been something that I wasn’t expecting to get the opportunity to do, but I have absolutely loved it! It makes me feel very privileged that I get to go out and explore new places, even if they aren’t always the most glamorous. I am also really enjoying getting out and about in nature on a more regular basis and seeing loads of amazing species. I had the wonderful opportunity of being able to go and see salmon jumping Stainforth Force, an experience I know I will never forget and a definite highlight of the year. But there is also something really special about seeing more humble species like kingfishers, herons, or even beetles when you least expect it that makes me smile.

Hedgelaying at North Bog

I am looking forward to getting stuck in with tree planting and litter picking later on in the year, as well as continuing to meet and talk with even more inspiring people from who I am constantly learning.

Removing thistles @ Baildon
Pulling thistles at Baildon floodable meadow

There have definitely been aspects that I have found challenging, but that is never a bad thing and I hope that over the next few months I will continue to surprise myself and gain more confidence in my abilities within the supportive ART community.

Lunch time!

I have already learnt so much and can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!

© Copyright Aire Rivers Trust 2020
The Aire Rivers Trust is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No: 07464227 and a Registered Charity No: 1145609
Registered Office at: 38 Morton Lane, East Morton, Keighley BD20 5RS
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