Monday, 4 July 2011

Giving Back To The Island

Rinchen who has volunteered for much of the season with a spotted flycatcher.

The WC puffin signs made by Kevin and Fiona crew of the May Princess.

Volunteers surveying the breeding gulls.

When we all visit the island we all take a bit away from it. It might be the effect of the use of fossil fuels to get there, it might be wear and tear on the paths, disturbance to wildlife or dropping of litter. For a few the Isle of May is there purely for entertainment but for many people who come over hopefully it is a little bit more than that. For us managing the island the main aim of inviting visitors over to see the wildlife spectacle is so that they go home remembering a special day, sometimes one that they will remember all their life and hopefully they will then wonder what they might do to help the island in return. Already many people put in a huge amount of time a effort in all sorts of ways that help the island. The birds observatory based in the Lowlight is organised, managed and run entirely by volunteers and enables the Isle of May to make a contribution to the understanding of bird migration. In running the reserve we gets lots of help from volunteers of all walks of life, in fact we couldn't run the National Nature Reserve with out them. They help with providing information to visitors, helping with the maintenance of the paths and buildings, clean the toilets, monitor the terns and help protect the eider chicks amongst other things. There are too many to name but an example or two of what is done are Kevin and Fiona, the May Princess crew, made the puffin WC signs on the visitor centre toilets, Rinchen made out of recycled materials the crafted leaflet holders and the touch table in the visitor centre, and Flora, Rinchen and Alice who have been helping to monitor our delicate tern population and meeting and greeting visitors. And the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) who carry out most of the research into the seabirds on the island also have people who volunteer to check puffin colour rings, help with the shag researcher and carry out the seabird ringing work.
But the main thing we ask is that everyone can do something even if you live far away, simply anything that you do that can minimise climate change by reducing your carbon footprint will be helping seabirds not just on the Isle of May but across the world.
So a big thank to every one that puts a little back into the island however small.

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