Placements for Pollinators

Placements for Pollinators

I have had the fantastic opportunity to volunteer with the Jersey Biodiversity Centre as part of my dissertation research project this summer. Although the dry and sunny days this summer have appeared few and far between, those days where the sun made an appearance have seen me wandering around the beautiful island of Jersey to complete Flower-insect timed (FIT) counts. With the difficult year we have had, and the subsequent disturbance to my formal University education, this was the first time I was truly able to experience field work. Sarah walked me through the process and was incredibly helpful, providing me with resources to assist me in the counts, including access to sites and taxonomic guides to help with identification.

During my time observing Jersey’s native pollinators, I have been lucky enough to spot some beautiful specimens in some of Jersey’s most iconic landscapes, including a swallowtail butterfly at Mont Orguiel castle and several hornet hoverflies. I have also had the privilege of visiting a number of Jersey’s heritage sites, including La Hougue Bie, and meeting individuals who are as interested in pollinators as I am. I have found Jersey is unique in the sense that there is such a large group of incredibly passionate people that are truly dedicated to protecting Jersey’s biodiversity. Spending hours counting pollinators has shown me how much you can see when you take the time to look. I had never realised the variety of bumblebees and hoverflies we had in Jersey and now find myself taking the time to appreciate the flowers and their visiting insects whenever I get the chance.

The work with the JBC has been incredibly varied, with one week involving drawing and cutting out over 50 cardboard beetles and bees or assisting in the construction of bee hotels. In addition to the work towards my dissertation, I have attended a number of events hosted by the Jersey Biodiversity Centre which has allowed me to interact with a variety of individuals, including children. As someone who would not have necessarily boasted about my social skills prior to Lockdown, especially in large groups of strangers, these opportunities have allowed me to improve my communication and social skills as well as having increased my confidence.

Volunteering with the JBC has allowed me to greatly improve my species identification, especially with bees, butterflies and hoverflies, survey techniques, biological recording and has helped increase my confidence in social situations. I am incredibly grateful to Sarah and Michelle for the time and assistance they have given me. In addition to the work and time spent on my dissertation, this has been a wonderful way to spend the summer. The skills I have learnt, I am sure, will assist me greatly in my future studies and employment and I hope to be able to continue to volunteer at the JBC when I eventually return to Jersey.

By Brooke De Gruchy, summer 2021

If you would like to volunteer or do a  student placement with the JBC please complete a form; 

pollinator patch at jersey zoo
Sarah Maguire