I’m Hannah Banks and I am a full time volunteer ranger at Llanerchaeron and the coast of Ceredigion. I work with Gwen Potter the head ranger and another full time volunteer Iona Graham.
My role involves countryside and coastal conservation and is very varied. One week in this role can involve, dolphin watches, checking wild ponies, clearing bracken, beach cleans, wildlife surveys and public activities! For the past few weeks we have done many of these tasks with the help of pupils from Swansea who are undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Gold award, who have provided us with great help during their week residential stays.
I have had many firsts since I began volunteering at Llanerchaeron. Recently I took part in a first aid course which was very informative, interesting and great fun with a large number of volunteer rangers and some members of staff. A few days after this course, we spotted an ambulance at one of our sites site and felt that we could’ve taken charge! Not quite there yet though! However, it was very handy for our brushcutter and strimmer course last week. Fortunately there weren’t any accidents and it is safe to say we all passed.
During the school summer holidays there are 50 things events on Fridays and one afternoon with the help of Iona, I led my first event and the children that attended ticked off many activities from their 50 things list. These events are not just for children as I also ticked off some of the 50 things. This summer for the first time ever I have skimmed a stone and played a grass trumpet (who knew you could hold a piece of grass the wrong way)!
Additionally, I have been fortunate to attend various identification courses such as dragonflies, bumblebees and amphibian and reptiles and picked up knowledge from others on plants, butterflies, moths etc. It is great to be able to spot something new to the eye and be able to identify the species; it is such a satisfaction, especially as I spot different species almost every week. Now when I am outdoors, I am always noticing the fantastic wildlife of Ceredigion and have become camera snapping crazy.
My experience at Llanerchaeron with the National Trust has been great so far and I have gained so much knowledge and new skills! I hope this experience will allow me to gain a job in this field in the future.
Lastly, I have gained a crazy number of freckles, many bruises, scratches and some great friends (including a green veined butterfly)!