I came to Scotland from the Netherlands to do an internship with the Scottish Wildlife Trust from February until April and I was placed with Eddie in Dalkeith.
We would go to local wildlife reserves, Monday to Thursdays for half days doing different maintenance tasks. As Eddie is a specialist in tree surgery we would be on hand to keep an eye on dismembered branches coming down which we would then clear out of the way.
I also learned how to hand fell small trees and even gained a chainsaw license after completing a course arranged by the Trust. I was surprised to learn how much the Trust values and relies on volunteers and I very much enjoyed working with Eddie and the other volunteers.
I learned a lot about the ecology of the woodlands and peat bogs of Scotland, discovering some beautiful reserves in Midlothian. The reserve we visited most was Pease Dean, where we restored overgrown paths, put in stone steps, box steps and planted trees. Some of my favourite memories are when we hiked along through the reserves learning about the trees and landscapes from Eddie.
I enjoyed my internship with the Trust so much that I am now going to try my hand at giving guided tours to instil the awe and passion for nature that I got from listening to Eddie and others.
With proud, kind-hearted people and a beautiful country Scotland has grown on me and I keep fond memories of my time spent there.
Elyssa took part in a three month Conservation Internship. She worked across wildlife reserves in Midlothian with Reserves Project Officer Eddie Degnan.