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And like that, our 12 weeks at Ambios were up. I knew it would go quickly but I was unaware of
how I would become so curious and learn so much in a short amount of time. We had just
finished helping with the Bioblitz event, led by Ambios to count as many species as possible in
24 hours – a great way to end our time here and confirm the skills we’d gained in Species ID. I
prepared myself to walk back along the cycle track for the last time, ready to pack up my things
and say my goodbyes.

Reflecting on my experience, I walked above the winding river and through the rewilding fields –
the vegetation has tripled the last few weeks and things are looking totally different to when we
first arrived, so much richer than the arable fields we’re used to seeing as our countryside. On
the verges of the path I stopped to meet the creeping cinquefoil, wood speedwell and common
vetch lit up by the evening sun. I walked past the camera traps I had been monitoring and was
watching fox cubs grow, play and learn to hunt on. A blackbird hummed melodically in a nearby
tree, echoed by a chaffinch and a pheasant screech. I walked back though the field where we’d
watched hovering kestrels and learnt the difference between the ominous hawkbits and
hawksbeards. In the grass I could now pick out yorkshire fog, red fescue, crested dog’s-tail and
then I stopped – gleaming at the grasshopper and bush cricket nymphs hopping at my feet.
Bees carting pollen between wildflowers. Meadow brown butterflies springing into the air. It was
alive again.

The lack of insect activity in the last few weeks from our field observations and surveys stunted
us all. Panicked, we had wondered – where are they? Is the rewilding working? Mike (ecologist,
incredible teacher and fountain of knowledge) told us by now the fields should be buzzing with
activity. Shortly we learnt that we weren’t the only ones to notice the national scale delay in
invertebrate activity this spring – a result of the cold start and earlier droughts, climate change.
Our time here at Ambios suddenly felt all the more important and highlighted the desperate
need for more rewilding projects like this for biodiversity to find refuge. The drive I had to be part
of active conservation grew all the more significant and an overriding pride set in knowing I was
here on the right track, with a shared vision for the future full of wild spaces, restored
ecosystems, flourishing biodiversity and people deeply rooted in nature.

✍ Grace Perry – Spring 2023 12-Week Nature Conservation Trainee

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