With the current project came a few changes, two new members of staff and a new truck!
Red Squirrel Officer – Sarah Purdon
Hello everyone! I hope I will get to meet even more of you over the next quarter, but until then a little bit about me: I grew up in Aberystwyth, and have always loved being outside and doing practical tasks. I have some basic Welsh having grown up here, but have in the last few years been trying to improve this more, and am attending regular welsh lessons. I went to university over in Norwich at UEA where I studied Ecology. After graduating I did long term volunteering spells on Skomer Island and at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in New Quay. I then worked for a spell for a water sampling company, while spending all my free time volunteering with the Vincent Wildlife Trust and their Pine Marten Reintroduction Project (PMRP). I began working on Skomer in 2017, returning in 2018 and 2019 as Assistant Warden (a seasonal role, which allowed me to come back to mid wales and keep up with my PMRP volunteering over the winter months).
I’m thrilled to be returning to terrestrial mammal work, and even better, I still get to live by the sea! (but no longer needing to worry about fitting my food shopping around the wind and tides!). I hope to meet many of you soon, if I haven’t already. Outside of squirrely activities, you’re likely to see me at Parkrun, or out and about on walks with my dog!
Grey Squirrel Control Officer West – Phil Harries
My name is Phil Harries. I was delighted to learn that I had been accepted for the job as Grey squirrel officer.
I have actively been involved in the red squirrel project since 2004, trapping reds , collecting hair samples for DNA analysis , also taking blood samples for identifying para-pox virus in the grey squirrel population. I hope that through my position I will be able to pass on my knowledge with the younger generation and volunteers.
I have been involved in the forestry industry for most of my working life, starting out tree felling, progressing to running my own harvesting teams. I then became a forester on a private estate, eventually becoming the forestry manager, until the estate was sold a few years ago.
In my spare time I am a keen motorcyclist. I am heavily
involved in the Blood Bikes Wales charity, as an area rep, rider and fundraiser. The charity is completely voluntary offering an out of hour’s emergency courier service to the NHS.
In the few weeks that I have held the position of squirrel officer, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the rest of the team that are as passionate as I am for the preservation of the endangered red squirrel.
Grey Squirrel Control Officer East – Ben Allen
Most of you will already know Ben, who has been a member of the team for the last 3 years, and a part of the project for a few years before that. Ben is our lead on the Trap Loan Scheme, and a great asset to the project. Outside of the project Ben is involved in Long Wood community woodland.