Adventure and conservation in the great outdoors

on 23 Feb 2017 

Gail Holt and Rex George are two of our fantastic Bush Heritage volunteers in the West.

Rex, an ex-lawyer, started volunteering with Bush Heritage when he retired. He was keen to participate in conservation and outdoor activities. After some investigation he stumbled across Bush Heritage and thought we sounded like a worthy organisation, and so he applied to volunteer.

Rex then participated in bird surveys at Charles Darwin Reserve and fauna surveys in the south-west and enjoyed the experience so much that he encouraged his partner Gail (a yoga teacher and previously a cyber and Internet security expert) to join.

Gail commented that Bush Heritage appealed to them because, "We both felt that Bush Heritage was well managed, had a well thought-out strategic direction (rather than a haphazard approach), and was achieving good things".

Gail and Rex are busy, committed volunteers working with a number of organisations. They have also volunteered for Earthwatch, working on an archaeological dig in Tuscany unearthing the Etruscan past, and, working in the Pyrenees in Andorra for a climate change project run by the University of Barcelona. Volunteering has enabled them to combine their love of the outdoors, travel and conservation.

In 2016 Gail and Rex dedicated themselves to a spotlighting project at Eurardy Reserve. The spotlighting project supports our long-term sandpad monitoring work (conducted over the past four years by another amazing duo – Len and Valerie Warren). The focus of this monitoring project is to assess the abundance of fauna including rabbits, cats and foxes.

Spotlighting at Eurardy is serious business. Every three months Gail and Rex have made a 14-hour round trip to the reserve to spend five nights methodically spotlighting along a transect.

Reserves Ecologist Ben Parkhurst comments, "The long term commitment and help that Gail and Rex have given us at Eurardy has been extremely valuable. The data from their work will give us insights into trends and locations of introduced animal populations and help us decide how to manage them. Their work has proved particularly useful in the lead up to the release of the new strain of Rabbit calicivirus. Without the help of volunteers like Rex and Gail we wouldn’t be able to achieve half as much as we do".

Volunteering with Bush Heritage has enabled Gail and Rex to satisfy their adventurous spirits and pursue conservation work in the great outdoors together. At the same time they've provided (and continue to provide) Bush Heritage with fantastic help and support. We are really grateful for the dedication and commitment that Gail and Rex and other Bush Heritage volunteers provide.