Living in paradise…

Christina Marques
5 April 2017

...is something I think we all dream about at some point in our lives. Well that's exactly what I got to do for six months when I interned at a little place that makes a big and very positive impact in the field of nature conservation called Nature's Valley Trust.

Most people I know told me that it's not worth the risk leaving something stable to venture out and gain more practical, valuable experience. Well it was totally worth it!

Where to start with so many ridiculously amazing things to say about my time with Nature's Valley Trust.

THE TEAM: the most warm, welcoming and unquestionably passionate people I have ever met headed by a brilliant and the utmost passionate individual of them all, Dr Mark Brown.

1Group

 

THE PROJECT: AAAHHHHH… THE WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER! Cutest thing ever!

2birds

 

Naturally, this is not NVT's only remarkable project but it is the one I signed up for but not the only one I participated in (that's the awe-inspiring thing about this organisation, you get included in anything and everything that you want, all to gain much needed and valued work experience in different fields but all for conservation).

So, back to the White-fronted plover… these small birds were my main focus practically every day, all day for six months.

A SMALL BIT OF WHAT WE DID: Our days would start at first light (I know… all I have to say is… amazing sunrises!) we would walk the length of one of the four beaches encompassed in the study with our eyes glued to the sand looking for itty bitty tracks that would lead us to a nest. If we found a nest we'd do the science bit called processing a nest where we measured the eggs and estimated the age and when it would hatch. Then we would leave everything as if we had never been there. Also, we would observe these nests from a distance to try and determine why the survival rate of these little beach runners aren't so great and some office work thrown into the mix (of course!).

3Research

 

Once I got over my crippling fear of stepping on a nearly invisible nest or on a chick, I was working in paradise too! Especially when I would encounter these heart melting scenes… 

4Morebirds

Mother protecting her nest (left) and tiny twins, just hatched (right)

 

Don't get me wrong I didn't have rose coloured glasses on. You have to take the good with the bad but in this case the good was great and heavily out-weighed the bad. I got to see and do some amazing things.

5Christinas adventures

 

I sorely miss Nature's Valley, the Trust and all the people that I met along the way. My greatest hope is that someday I may return.

All that there is left to say is thank you immeasurably for the opportunity, it was the best time of my life and what I learned surpassed all my expectations.

 

 

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