Owen's Account - Work Experience at HWDT

Last week, Owen Wild, a student from Tobermory High School, joined HWDT for his week-long work experience placement. Read on for Owen's account of his time at the Trust.

 The picturesque town of Tobermory, headquarters of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

The picturesque town of Tobermory, headquarters of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

Working at HWDT has been a great experience for me as it ties in with my interests in wildlife and journalism. Over the past 5 days, both staff and volunteers have guided me through the inner workings of the Trust, providing an all-around great experience, which has included everything that the Trust has to offer.

The week started with a meeting about advertising which I was kindly included in and I was amazed to see just how much thought actually goes into how things are promoted. Everything was mentioned from strategy, to schedules, to methods, to debates on which words would grab more attention, it introduced a new way of thinking to me. For the rest of the day I worked in the Discovery Centre re-arranging the shelves, cleaning, pricing and engaging with the public. It was great to see how fascinated the tourists and locals are with marine life.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent out of the office in the great outdoors. Firstly, I helped with running a school trip for the S1 class at Tobermory High School to Glengorm where they took part in a headland watch. This was quite successful as a minke whale and small group of porpoises were spotted far off on the horizon. Afterwards, the S1's along with help from myself, HWDT and Glengorm staff took part in some practical conservation work by uprooting rhododendrons as part of the Glengorm Wildlife Project.

 S1 pupils scanning the seas, with Glengorm Wildlife Ranger, Kerry, for their John Muir Award.

S1 pupils scanning the seas, with Glengorm Wildlife Ranger, Kerry, for their John Muir Award.

This was followed by an incredible trip to Staffa, in partnership with Mull and Iona Ranger Service and Turus Mara, which was full of marine animal sightings including at least eight different basking sharks! It was really incredible to see so many. Whilst out on the island, we ran a headland watch and I helped to spot and record all the porpoises, sharks and seals we saw, as well as a fleeting glimpse of a dolphin. All I can say is that this was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

 The destinctive fin of a basking shark cutting through the still water.

The destinctive fin of a basking shark cutting through the still water.

Thursday I was back into the office to document and write a post for the website, "Basking Sharks Galore", featuring the previous evenings incredible trip to Staffa. Along with HWDT’s Community Engagement Manager Pippa; I selected and edited pictures for the article, before writing and editing the post itself. After this day I have had a full taste of everything that goes on inside the office and despite common belief, it’s not all boring desk work.

For my final day of work here I have been doing more jobs in the office, magazine editing, meetings discussing logos for an upcoming project and of course writing this blog that your reading right now (yes I am breaking the fourth wall) and it’s still been enjoyable.

Overall I can only say good things about this week. For any students reading this, if you see HWDT on your option form for work experience, take it! I have had an amazing time this week and it’s been great to have so many opportunities to get really involved.

Thank you to all the staff and volunteers at HWDT for this great experience and to any and all who read this.

 

Owen Wild, Work Experience Student.