Guest Blog by Aine Mallon
Hello, my name Is Aine Mallon, I am 20 years old and have just finished my second year at Queen’s university studying Environmental management with professional studies. I am currently undertaking a year’s placement at Oxford Island.
I wanted to spend my year out of university based somewhere that broadens my horizon on the environmental aspect and awareness we face today. I enjoy being outside collecting data and being able to work amongst a team, team work here at Oxford Island is a vital part. Also, learning new skills and information regarding the diverse range of different habitats that exposed us to plant species and invertebrates that are situated within these different nature reserves we visit. I want to be in a work-based environment that aims to prevent the degradation of the natural environment. Protecting al living creatures is a key aspect I want to learn more about.
Since I have started placement at Oxford Island, we have been introduced to plant identification training with Bob Davidson. Plants are a fundamental part of our work here at Oxford Island because they sustain clean air which we are dependent on. Being able to identify the broad diversity of plants is to understand the positive and negative indicators for assessment on their ability to effectively carry out photosynthesis for the surrounding landscape. I can now also distinguish the difference between sedges and different types of grassland.
We have been introduced to the importance of bumble bees, the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. At Oxford Island, we have followed a transect around the area to collect data on the numbers and types of bumble bees present here. Knowing the different populations of bees is essential to be able to understand their dynamics and how these change overtime. As well as bumble bees, we have been brought out to a range of areas including Brackagh and Portmore to study dragon flies.
I am also a qualified first aider, as we have all attended classes and been assessed on our ability to perform first aid on people and what do in these situations.