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Murlough is cared for as Ireland's first nature reserve since 1967, the fragile 6000 year old sand dune system offers some lovely walks. Due to the reserves wild nature you can discover birds, flowers, butterflies and more, all overlooked by the rounded peaks of the Mourne Mountains to the south.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A change of hands

Welcome to Murlough's Volunteer Blog!

With a new wave of volunteers comes a new wave of blogs, which if we are persistent will be available for your reading pleasure on a monthly basis.

So without further ado we will introduce ourselves:


My name is Richard Dear, I'm 21 and I'm currently studying at UWE (University of the West of England) in Bristol.I'm enrolled on the BSc Conservation Biology course for a four year period, and I'm currently in my third year doing a 40 week placement with the National Trust here at Murlough.

I've always loved being in the great outdoors. Never satisfied with the idea of an office job but striving for a hard working,honest  job surrounded by woodland. This is probably why I have developed a fervent commitment to Bushcraft, a pursuit of which I have begun to teach with the British Bushcraft School and at public state schools with young ones.

I  guess I had chosen to volunteer here because I want to land a job as ranger, and what better way to learn than to be working day in day out beside three of them. I was dubious about coming over at first and dedicating an entire year of my existence to the trust, but boy was I wrong.

Living in the volunteer accommodation is a perfect set up. Seeing as it is directly above the offices and slap bang beside our work place (meaning more sleep!) and the rooms are pretty cosy at night when the weather is pitted against you.

I simply wouldn't be able to describe the joy of working here in a single blog, so I'll cherry pick. My favourite thing about working here? The variety. Every day is different, we could be processing firewood (I love swinging axes...) one day and then scanning the reserve for Marsh Fritillary Larvae the next.


My name is Graham Drew, I'm 22 years old, and I'm currently on my 44 week placement here at Murlough National Nature Reserve. At present, I'm on a four year BSc Wildlife Conservation with Natural Resource Management degree, studying at Harper Adams University. 

Translocated from a small farming town in South Africa, I've always had the privilege of growing up amongst wildlife, inspiring my passion for conservation and working with wildlife, you could say that it's been ingrained into my skin. 

I've never been the type of person to sit in an office, so as a consequence of that, has lead me to various different jobs such as freelancing as sound engineer to working with a fireworks company (UK Fireworks). So when I heard of the opportunity to go and work in another country, it spurred me on to pursue. You could if you want, call it a "calling". 

I live within the volunteer accommodation accompanied with Rich (above). It's definitely a good hard graft over the months to keep the house warm. However, nonetheless like Rich said perfect. It keeps warm and dry during the cold harsh winter weather. 

Picking an activity to say which is the best and which is the worst is rather futile, since every task and activity has it's benefits and cons. However, if having to choose one as a must, it'd most likely have to be the scrub clearance and burning. Such an activity seems to bring forth a sense of satisfaction and gratification, knowing what you're doing and that it has a potential benefit to the landscape really seems to bring that forth. 


My name is James Clarke and I am 20 years old. I am currently studying Environmental Biology at Queen's University Belfast and I am volunteering at Murlough as part of my placement year. I will be volunteering here from the start of November 2015 until the end of June 2016.

I have lived in Northern Ireland all of my life and I am currently living in Dromore, Co. Down. I travel into Murlough every morning from home. I luckily have grown up around wildlife and always have had a passion for being outdoors (and in N. Ireland that involves all types of weather). Murlough was a draw to me for the reason that I would be able to work outdoors in one of the most important areas for wildlife in Northern Ireland.

In my free time I enjoy playing acoustic guitar and have been lucky enough to achieve a grade 8 with this instrument. I have also played squash from a very young age and still get in a few games a week.

I am looking forward to the rest of my time here at Murlough and hope to acquire new skills and knowledge that will help wherever my future takes me.

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