Fed up with all that flicking through guide books deciding on what to do next, reached you limit on culture, bored with lying around on the beach? Perhaps next year you might consider a working holiday? – more and more people are doing just that and getting involved in the world of conservation.
Most of the volunteers that help monitor and protect the choughs in Cornwall are fairly local to a particular nest site. But, there are a growing number of volunteers who, because of their interest in the choughs, come to Cornwall and spend a working holiday with us. For many years we rented accommodation on the Lizard so volunteers could stay free of charge in return for their time, but we could no longer afford the rental costs and regrettably folded this residential scheme. However, some volunteers from ‘up country’ who came every year decided they still wanted to be involved so this year they rented and funded their own accommodation, plus, some new volunteers were expressing an interest and they also took up the working holiday challenge and booked their own accommodation so they could help us. Thanks guys – you know who you are!
Some of the volunteers have been using their experience helping the National Trust at the Wildlife Watchpoint at Southerly Point, which we ran between 2002 and 2013, whilst others have spent their ‘holiday’ elsewhere in Cornwall where us and the choughs most needed help. Jane and Ian from Dorset just sent us this lovely piece about their working holiday.
“Our visits to West Cornwall have included a trip to see the choughs since their return to the county, so volunteering with the chough watch combined the best of both worlds for us. It gave us the opportunity (excuse) to sit on the cliffs watching the sea and the wildlife for a few hours each day with the knowledge that we were helping to protect these beautiful birds.
Volunteering in this way is such a positive experience. We felt very much that we belonged there and were actively contributing to the region and the environment, rather than just being holidaymakers or birdwatchers.
The RSPB co-ordinator was inspirational, taking time to make sure we were comfortable with the area, briefing us on exactly what to do if we needed to talk to the public about the nest site and its protection and keeping in daily contact to see how things were going. Her enthusiasm and interest in us as individuals all contributed so much.
I have been asked to add the down sides to our working holiday and I can honestly say that there were none. We have been spreading the word with like-minded friends and hope to bring other volunteers with us next year.” We also took advantage of the discount offered by Classic Cottages. I don’t know if they want this publicised or will continue to do it but it did help with costs for us.
All the best from Jane and Ian