What an adventure these work experience students recently had with the Countryside Regeneration Trust at Lark Rise Farm. 

The students from Comberton Village School and Long Road Sixth Form College, Cambridgeshire, got stuck in helping CRT conservation officer, Vince Lea, with his work throughout the week. 

After a first training session on day one, their second day involved helping supervise a team of volunteers from Severn Trent Water, who arrived at Lark Rise for a corporate volunteering session as part of the campaign against Himalayan Balsam, an invasive non-native plant.  

The students also helped to check out our owl boxes and were amazed when two barn owls flew out over their heads. 

Work experience students at Lark Rise Farm Work experience students at Lark Rise Farm

Days three and four of their week were spent helping with the wildlife monitoring work, and learning how to identify, count and record various groups of species, with a session looking at the insect life in the Bourn Brook and a butterfly count. The highlight for many was a bat survey. From dusk until 11:30pm, they walked a 3km route and recorded 20 pipistrelle bats, using ultrasound bat detectors.  

With rain forecast for day five, the team spent their last day on the all-important data handling part of a conservationist’s job, sending our bat data to the Bat Conservation Trust’s survey and working out how many territories of birds were recorded on the farm, based on maps produced by our volunteers during the spring.  

We ended with a discussion on careers in conservation and it is my hope that the experience will inspire these young people to consider this as an option,” says Vince. 

Work experience students at Lark Rise Farm Work experience students at Lark Rise Farm

As well as giving the students a fun-filled week it was also a great benefit to the work of the CRT and gave me a real boost of energy to see these young people enjoying life in nature.” 

One student told us he had a fantastic time, describing it as “The best week EVER”- and he has now been inspired to do his gold Duke of Edinburgh award. 

How you can help

We can’t do it without you. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as a CRT Friend to volunteering on one of our farms and attending our events. You can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter 'CRT News' for regular updates from our farms, straight to your inbox.

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Published: July 2024