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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.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hi :)

We are Miriam and Daria and we will continue the Blog till Christmas. We are volunteers at the Murlough Nature Reserve since October.

At present we have 4 volunteer staying in our volunteer accommodation. I, Miriam, am from Germany.This semester I'll graduate from CAU in Kiel my BSc is in Geography.
I, Daria, am from Switzerland.
 Last August I graduated in Anthropology and Geography at the University of Neuch√Ętel. 
Fergus has graduated in Nature Conversation at UEA. He has been volunteering since September and in the meantime he's applying for jobs. He's our little clumsy fellow, who never misses an opportunity to climb a tree. Tom has been here since August and he studied ecology in Bristol. Next to Nature Conservation he's also interested in learning Dutch and gymnastics. He's always looking for a practice wrestle with his housemates, especially with Fergus and Daria, because they always lose, while Miriam is too strong for him.

While Autumn shows his most beautiful face by colouring the leaves, the temperature is going to announce the wintertime. Last weekend we had some issues with the boiler/stove, so we had no working heater in the house. After a call to the local plumber we are now  glad that the heating is working again.
Our work is mainly occupied by cutting and burning of European gorse and Sea buckthorn - nasty invasive species on the reserve. Since my second week, we are outfitted with breathing protection masks and bigger gloves - that makes it a bit more "comfortable". We all take a turn about to help Damian with the tree survey, while the others were working with Pete brushcutting in the dunes or at the carpark or even health and safety site checks on different paths between Dundrum and Newcastle picking litter as we go. Sometimes it is incredible how people spoil natural and beautiful areas with their rubbish! Why are some people unable to use bins or take their rubbish home?  Of course, we'll do it, but it might be better if everybody took care and respected the environment - and leave the place how they found it: clean!

Another nice activity we did during the last week of November was planting oak trees. We planted some next to the path at the Dundrum Castle Woods and some along the main avenue in Murlough. We hope that they will be grown up to big trees when they will be checked up in 30 years ;)  On Wednesday the 9th December, we fell two sycamores not far from our house. We stacked the brash from the crowns (creating hideout for animals/habitat piles), the trunk is going to be prepared for firewood to keep us warm through the winter nights. It means that we transport the wood to the house, split them with the hydraulic machine and stacking it under the roof. Whilst Pete felled the tree and prepared the wood into portable pieces we used the time for climbing on trees and improve our fighting skills ;)

The weather gods were gracious and sent us some warmer days again. Meanwhile, the weather turns slowly back to characteristic November temperatures. Today - on friday the 18th - we saw the first snow on the top of the St. Donald while we were looking for new brushcutting areas into the dunes.

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