Escape From The City
After a week in Lilongwe post fire, helping salvage what we could from camp and taking part in movie style births, I headed to Kuti Wildlife Reserve....
I burst out with “it’s a baby!” as the nurse ushered me out the room. As I walked back out to meet Brennan, I said you just can’t make this stuff up…
It Wasn't a Dream
It all feels so surreal. I lost almost everything I owned in the arson attack, as I had moved most of my possessions here, intending to be here for many years...
Surely This Is A Bad Dream
On Day 10 of my quarantine, I woke at 3 am to screams and crying from the village. I got up and got dressed and was very scared...
Back to The Warm Heart of Africa
I arrived back in Malawi all good despite an uncomfortable journey and was picked up from the airport and taken back to my home huts at Kumbali...
London, used to be my favourite place in the world. I am a born and raised city girl and capital city at that. Used to a busy life and lights through the night but eventually it all got a bit much...
Last month did a few Zoom talks for the Bat Conservation Trusts Bat Fest, talking on the Global Bat Conservation Showcase day and the Bat Science Stage day...
Final Few Trips
When back in Nottingham, I start the packing of the bags, thankfully this time it is not too bad as I have been semi living out of suitcases since I got back in April!
To Sherwood Forest We Go
I forgot to write about my stick n poke tattoo too last month which Gina did for me. After a pint or two in the pub we headed back to her place and listened to some metal whilst she inked me up...
Venturing Back Out
Super excited this week as I won the British Ecological Society Instagram Photography Competition!
As high street shops begin opening their doors again, the shoppers descended. However another scandal has hit the news about garment workers and their treatment during the pandemic...
My birthday was soon can coming up and after dreading a lockdown birthday a group of only six individuals out doors seemed like way more challenging version...
Ok, I am finally getting around to doing this. Scobylena time! Many friends have asked me about Kombucha....
The Great Escape
So the next day after a night to think about it, we booked our tickets to the motherland. After all, why get a souvlaki in Notts when you could have one in Athens?
Black Lives Matter
Yesterday in Nottingham there was a peaceful protest in the Forest Recreation Ground which my sister and I attended. It was great to see so many people out in force from all different backgrounds...
After making a delicious huevos rancheros brunch for us, I had to retreat to my desk for a bit as my Twitter conference slot was on the same day...
1st World Bat Twitter Conference
Excited to be part of the 1st World Bat Twitter Conference which is being organise by researchers working in the UWE Bat Conservation Research Lab. On the flipside I am so nervous about it. I normally don’t get nervous presenting but as this is a different format I find myself a bit stressed out about it!
Track & Trace
The sad reality is we are already being traced every day and watched by the big brother society we live in were have become the products. In the UK, police officers are able to detain people suspected of having covid-19 and can fine people for refusing tests under new ‘emergency powers’ rolled out by our government...
ABC Reunion Time
This weekend just gone we managed to have an African Bat Conservation Reunion together with most staff, volunteers and interns from the last few months...
Bats Blamed Again
Bats are back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and some people are even blaming corona virus on bats....
Lockdown: Week 7
Found a cool new spot which I never realised was super close, though it is pretty close to the hospital which I am not to keen on. Also went and visited some old spots like the meadow and woodland close by!
Lockdown: Week 6
Bank holiday Friday, gosh the days are a blur! I seemed to miss the memo that this year was a Bank Holiday Friday not Monday...
Lockdown: Week 5
I am a workaholic at the best of times but during this pandemic without much else to do, I find myself glued to my computer and if it’s not actual work then I am writing and uploading blogs or thinking up some new idea!
Lockdown: Week 4
Humans are part of a very sociable group, the primates, how does a social primate accept social distancing as the new norm? We have evolved over the years to seek relationships as part of our survival. So how do we stay sane? Is online communication going to keep that same interaction?
Lockdown: Week 3
It has been just over two weeks now and getting close to three and there has been no rain since being back in England. The skies are clear of clouds, as well as planes and those trails of white that normally adorn our skies...
Music List From Malawi
So, over the last 30 blogs, I have taken you from packing for my trip to Malawi, my adventures with African Bat Conservation to being back in England…
Lockdown: Week 2
Since being back I have such mixed feelings about some of the decadence in our everyday lives. From the products we have so readily in our supermarkets to air travel across the world, our lives rely so much on international trade.
Back In England
Thankfully, whilst coming back was a tremendous shock, my mum and sister came and picked me up from Heathrow airport. They managed to get a car and come and pick me up which is great because I do not want to have to get a bus back!
Two Musketeers Down
Yesterday, I got a call from Emma, I am leaving. The Conservation Research Africa Trustees have said staff need to return home. This is crazy. We all have a teary tipsy evening of packing and cant believe what is going on...
One Musketeer Goes Home
We also had a braai night on Sunday night, but sadly this will be the last for Tom as he is going back to the UK, due to all this crazy virus stuff going on... We are going to be a musketeer down in the bat team.
Storms Are Coming Again
We managed to get an extra night in of surveying and managed to go down to the banana plantation for one last survey attempt…but the rain halted that and back to camp we went.
Busy Bats and an Elephant
Daniel and Bridget arrived this week from the Bat Conservation and Research Unit in the UK for a scoping trip with African Bat Conservation. I was super excited to have them hear as I was working with them both in England!
Exploring Around Us
Me and Dom having been trying to go on more walks at Kumbali during our lunchbreaks with our cameras, trying to get out of the Office a bit more and enjoy our surroundings...
Sunsets to S.T.E.M
This week was International Women’s Day (March 8th) and is also Esther’s birthday. As it fell on a Sunday we had a cake in the week with her today at the Office as no one seemed to be about earlier in the week...
Bat Surveying On A Farm
After Emma’s departure and a few days off, Tom and I spent a few days scoping out a new site for a potential new African Bat Conservation project, with bats and farms.
Busy Week of Road Trippin!
We managed to pack so much in to the week as we had so many different things to talk about, sort out and also a few road trips for meetings. My favourite thing was visiting Kuti Wildlife Reserve, I love this place!
Work Life Balance
Work life balance can be hard in many industries and for sure it is true in bat research. You find yourself doing working really long hours with few days off, even if all I seem to blog about is braais and nights out!
Trip to Lake Malawi
Whilst in Salima we are flat out doing roost visits, emergence surveys and even some hand netting to help identify species. We are very thankful to stay at the Kumbali Lakeside Retreat and we are also treated to some canoes one morning which makes for a great start to the day!
Made It Up The Mountain
Me, Tom, Dom and Patrick took a trip to Ngala Hill on our day off to go and climb the mountain (it felt like one!) which is just outside of Lilongwe and had beautiful views up at the top! I wasn't so sure I would make it though...
Surveying the Banana Plantation
Every time we have tried this survey here, it gets cancelled due to thunderstorms! We ended up had a really successful night bat surveying! I am also really happy to be getting back on the African Bat Conservation Urban Mops project!
Bringing It Home With Hot Sauce
Bringing It Home was screened, which talks about hemps many uses including in the construction industry, as food and medicine. After the screening, we headed over to the Cuneco bar and the tunes were so good and the wine so affordable (£2 a glass)...
Sundowners and a Pizza Party
For something a bit different we went to a pizza night and before that a bunch of went for volleyball with a few beers. The others went out for sun downers at Kumbali beforehand but thankfully me, Lena and Tom went for some earlier in the week on the rock spot you see in the picture!
Learning About Bat Roosts
ABC held a ‘Bat Roost Training Day’ for staff, students and volunteers. Roosts (which is what bats homes are called) play a vital role in the ecology of bats...
Had a bit of a meltdown this week, largely as so much has been going on, surveys cancelled due to weather and partly because Sophie one of our students has decided to go home which was a bit of a shock...
New Year and Some New Peeps
We have had a couple of volunteers join us here at ABC, camp numbers are always changing as people come and go which keeps things interesting...
Thunderbolts and Lightning
As I mentioned in my last blog the lightning storms here are rather immense! When they get going they are huge and pretty dangerous. The rain is so heavy is fully washes away the roads...
Proper Crimbo and NYE
We had a fabulous Christmas here in at the Conservation Research Africa base which started off with our Conservation Research Africa Christmas Party!
Christmas Queens DIY
We have been super busy with all the different projects going on at the moment! Over the last week, I have also taken people to a few good spots I know for present buying as we have decided to do Secret Santa this year for Christmas...
Deforestation in Malawi
Malawi is recognised for its international importance supporting a rich array of endemic species, including some that are restricted to single mountains. However, issues of deforestation and habitat fragmentation is a major issue
Working With Local Villages
As part of Sophies masters project we have been meeting with several Chiefs of the villages and we have been granted permission to survey at various woodlands / graveyards to the east of Lilongwe. To enable us to go into the graveyards for our surveys we have had to be initiated in rites of the Chewa culture...
Quick Mission Up North
Our mission though is to get the weather station amongst the other office bits we can cram into the car. We have a good tetris session getting as much in Troopy (white Land Cruiser) ...
Time For a Braai
So the carnivore team has departed, as the vet had finished his stint with them, but before they left we had a big braii! Myself, Dom and Sophie pimped out the sandpit...
Straw Colour Fruit Bats
Despite being listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, there is limited information on how Straw colour fruit bats behave in an urban environment. Despite a heavily busy urban centre, a group of Straw-coloured fruit bats have roosted in a central Lilongwe church for over 15 years...
10 Days In...
Been so busy since I got here, getting to know the Teams and trying to catch these Straw coloured fruit bats Eidolon helvum, and adjusting to the new lifestyle...
New Beginnings Ahead
I can get so carried away with doing that I forget to sit back sometimes and just take it all in, let alone write about it and get it online. It is November and I have just uprooted and moved myself over 5600 miles to Lilongwe, Malawi...
Ciao For Now
Over the last few weeks I have been meeting up with people, saying goodbyes and getting this last bits packed up! Very excited to start this new chapter and I am sure the year will pass by so quick ...
National Nathusius Pipistrelle Project
It has been my fifth year taking part in the BCT National Nathusius Pipistrelle Project as part of Nottinghamshire Bat Group and for the last two years I have been leading them for the Group as part of the national project licence.
The Goose Fair did make me chuckle in my first year here in Nottingham, but now I shall miss you gooseh. For years I lived around Forest Field Recreation Ground...
All Greek to Meh Duck
I was super excited not only to go back to the Motherland but to have three of the besties come with. But some events beforehand meant we almost didn’t all make it there...
Climate Strike and Swarming Surveys
I find it hard sometimes as I do travel a lot and do rack up some good airmiles. However, it is important not to just judge people with movements such as these. No one is perfect and we can all try and improve...
Tres Bien, Merci
Later in August, Sinead and me jetted off to France for the bank holiday weekend! She invited me to join her at a weekend long party with some of her friends from her travels in New Zealand...
A Woodland Wedding and London Adventures
The big event this month though was Ben and Gina’s wedding, or should I say hand fastening which took place in the magical Sherwood Forest...
Surfs Up Dude
Last month had my birthday celebrations then this month me and Isabella went to Croyde in Devon for a holiday! We camped at a site overlooking the sea...
Got a New Job
By the way I totally forgot to tell you all that I am going to Malawi later this year as I have accepted the job of Research Manager for African Bat Conservation...
Better Than a Poke in the Eye
Been off work this whole month recovering and it has been so boring, I cannot even read or watch things for very long as it strains my good eye...
Four Sisters in Switzerland
We first arrived in Geneva where Georgina picked us up and took us back to Friedberg where she lives. We went for a tour of a cheese shop and ate so many delicious delights!
The Bats of Nottinghamshire Book Launch
To launch the book we had a celebration event at at Oscar and Rosies on Stoney Street in Hockley. The event had a bat themed halloween quiz and raffle as well as lots and lots of free pizza! Though I may have taken the music theme too far…
Summer Days Into Autumn Haze
Been so long since posting anything, I have been super busy getting my thesis typed up and submitted! Last I left it, I had just had my smiley face tattoo on the underside of my toe touched up, with stick and poke...
Urban Hyenas and Tracking Training
Sadly it is not going so good data collection wise as it is so cold over here! It is never so cold in Malawi and the temperatures mean that bats are just simply not emerging from the roosts in the evening...
Update on Research Project
As well as working hard here in Lilongwe we have also had a few opportunities for fun and we even managed to go on a fun day trip to Lake Malawi in Salima!
Knock Knock - You Got Bats?
It has been fab getting out to also take part in the Biodiversity Monitoring Projects with the ABC Team and getting more practice on mist net extraction as I would like to further my skills ...
The Warm Heart Of Africa
Back in Malawi!!!! Myself and Amelia touched down in Lilongwe on 19th June and we are excited to be back and to carry on with our research on the white bellied free tailed bats! The first few days of ...
Oh Wow The Big 3-OOO
Back to Malawi in just a few days but this time I will keep you updated with what I am up to! I had my big 3-0 birthday celebrations here in Nottingham before going away...
After a great first week on the experiment.com page things have slowed down sadly! But we had an article out on Inside Ecology about the project which will hopefully help us to get the word out there!
Mass Transect Night
Last week myself at several Notts Bat Group members went on a mass transect night as part of our HLF Echolocation Location project! First, we met up at the Royal Oak pub in North Leverton and had a drink whilst checking out our transect routes...
Can We Try Again
Been so busy so far with newty season that it has been a while since posting! So…. I had to ask work if I could have time off to go back to Malawi as I need more data (if I want to get this paper published!) and thankfully they have agreed to it!
Brrrrr-it Bats Student Conference 2018
Since re-turning from my trip, I have taken on the role of Chair of Nottinghamshire Bat Group and I was also asked to talk at Brit Bats Student Conference 2018 at Bristol University which was super cool (and also terrifying!)
International Women's Day and a Partay
Yesterday I attended the Centenary Cities Nottingham event 100 Years On... I also had a party to welcome me back from the U.S.A and it was lovely seeing people!
SCOBYlenas and Musical Journeys
In this blog I tell you about the Kombucha workshop I went to and also take you on a little musical memory tour of some of my Shazam! list during my Scholarship trip across the U.S.A (and Canada!) * lots of YouTube vids in this entry *
Back to the Shire
I head back towards Nottingham on the train. Still letting all the trip sink in and all the people I met with. Such a huge diversity of organisations, with so many different places explored and had so many unique experiences along my journey!
Hailing for a Taxi
For my final night I go to a basketball game, Brooklyn Nets vs Pelicans! So glad I managed to make it to one game during my time here. The next day and my last day, I visit to the Roosevelt Island...
Living the High Life in NYC
Finally, my final Greyhound bus! Thankfully this one is not to long, New Haven to New York… When I arrive in New York I check into
Wolves in Upstate New York
I pick up a car rental as I am supposed to go to the Hyde Park home of FDR and had all arranged for a tour and meet and greet but sadly the park was closed due to the snow and ice. This is such a shame as...
Haven, Soup and Noodles
Later than evening and after my soup dinner, my host invites me to join him and his friends at a local pub quiz and although I am pretty useless at quizzes I thought I would go anyways.
Hobo Chic and Ivy League
Only I can roll through Yale looking like a hobo with no shame. Sadly I could not get to my accommodation before the seminar I was attending at the Business School and when I tried...
Swing By Philly
I get my train to Philadelphia where I am staying at a hostel again but I am meeting later with an old friend from Barnet College (who I haven't seen in almost 10 years!)
At first I just chill at hostel and get some food, I need vitamins!!! After a bit of recouping, I spend the day exploring Washington as there is so much here to see with all the free museums...
Off to London But Not to See the Queen
Better than that, I took a five hour return trip on another darn Greyhound bus to have coffee with and meet globally known...
Crossing the Border
I do also manage to get some good supplies of mayple syrup to take back with me. My bag is however a little bit heavy now, need to do a little re adjusting…
Last Few Days in Motown
One of the things I really wanted to do whilst here was to go Dillas Donuts, so finally the time has come to do this ...
A Stay With a Roosevelt
My next host is a really interesting person. Dr. Anna C. Roosevelt. As part of the scholarship we are encouraged to try and meet with...
Back to Chicago I Go
The Urban Wildlife Institute studies the interaction between urban development and the natural ecosystem to develop scientific standards for minimizing conflict between these overlapping areas.
The 'Burbs and The Hood
The burbs still have most of their Christmas decorations up when I stay there (now almost end of Jan!) yet I wonder if the in the Hood they ever had any.. Although you don’t have the risk of being shot as much in the ‘Burbs’ its also really boring…
Bats and Brews
After introducing myself and welcoming them to the bat zone, I apologise to my public that they got stuck with me and to let me know if they struggle to get what I am saying. Apparently though they loved it...
But Why Bats?
Some fruits are pollinated by bats, around 300 varieties, and some rely on only bats for pollination. Such as the agave plant, which tequila is made from. So if you don’t like mosquitos and you do like tequila you have bats to thank!
Organization for Bat Conservation
The Organization for Bat Conservations mission is to educate people about bats and inspire them to become actively involved in conservation. Founded in 1992...
Bun The Greyhound Bus
Ok. I officially hate the Greyhound bus. FACT. I was supposed to be on a 23:15 bus back to Detroit ahead of my shift with OBC on Sunday. Instead I am still at the bus station as I write this at 7:46 am...
When I arrive in Chicago I head to a café to grab some breakfast before heading to my hostel. Before that though I sit in the Greyhound café and drink coffee and do some work until the sun actually rises...
Exploring the Motor City
It’s like a romantic tragedy, a tale of hopes and dreams and a reminder of the sad fact that despite the fact we are all supposed to be equals as human beings, divide and conquer is a trick that never ceases to fail...
While the suburbs began to draw people out of our cities in the 1950s, Detroit’s neighbourhoods and their demographics changed drastically and quickly after the 1967 riots.
The American Dream
Detroit was once upon a time the ‘go-to’ place to get a stable job, earn a good living and become middle class. It was the fourth largest city in the U.S.A.
All aboard…Next stop Detroit
The train was pretty long and with an added 7 hours due to delays, I spent a grand total of 23 hours on the Amtrak train from Boston to Toledo.
Mindfulness and cautious steps
While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it's more readily available to us when we practice it on a daily basis.
From Wildfires to Blizzards
The next morning with the storm over I headed into Boston to visit the Fine Art Gallery and to do some sightseeing.
From Greyhound to Harvard, what a varied day
As a blizzard warning has been issued for the next day I am advised by Keith and Olivia to do some exploring that afternoon as the next day should be spent inside...
The Legend, The Met and NYE
On my last day in New York I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art... They had some great artwork in there and also had a special exhibition of some of the Masters drawings.
I get the Subway into Manhattan and get off at Grand Central Station. I really love this building...
I have gone from the beach in Miami and 26-30oC to -7oC!! Bit of a shock to the system. I get the train into Penn Station and then grab the subway to my next stop, a hostel in Brooklyn.
Back to Miami for Christmas
On route to Key West I stopped off at a few of the other Keyes and checked out the beaches and nature reserves. Saw Osprey and other wildlife and got to do some sunbathing...
The bald eagle Haliaeetus Leucocephalus was chosen for its majestic beauty, great strength, long life, and because it's native to North America.
So glad I have a car here!
Great place, I saw alligators, river otter, cotton mouth snake, Florida soft shell turtles, lizards, Ibis, stork and many other bird species!
An elephant’s cousin
Manatees, in general, are pretty particular water creatures. They’re warm-blooded mammals and prefer the water temperature to be at least 68 degrees.
I am driving to Fort Myers, where I am staying with a lady who is an environmental consultant. It takes me 3 hours to get there with a few rest stops along the Everglades.
The next morning I head to the holy land that is Whole Foods and stock up on some supplies as I will be in Florida for a week.
Houston Wetlands and Alligators
Brazos Bend State Park is a 4,897-acre state park along the Brazos River in Needville, Texas, run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Every Child Wild
It’s not only our own wellbeing but the planets wellbeing that depends on our exposure to green space and our interaction with nature. Yet opportunities for children to participate, play and engage in wild, green spaces are deteriorating.
Project WILD is one of the most widely-used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school.
Bats, Bridges and Tacos!
Austin's bridge bats are Mexican free-tailed bats. They migrate each spring from central Mexico to various roosting sites throughout the south-western U.S.A.
The main reason I came to Austin is to see the bats under Congress bridge and meet with Bat Conservation International.
San Antonio Hospitality
Other than all the fantastic urban green spaces, the other thing that got me about San Antonio was the people.
Urban Green Space and Wellbeing
Cities are comprised of more than just buildings and people. The most “liveable” big cities are just as known for their open space as they are for their culture.
The urban river has been revitalized through a comprehensive, multi-year project, which was completed in 2013. The project that restored and enhanced 13 miles of the San Antonio River both north and south of downtown.
On our way to the Grand Canyon, we also stopped in Sedona which is seen my many people as the Earths heart chakra.
The Desert Botanical Garden coordinates and leads the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance, a partnership of scientists, land managers, educators, community members, and other conservation-based non-profit organizations focused on the sustainability of the mountain parks and preserve system in and around the Phoenix metro area.
A day with seals
We get to see the seals on the beach amongst other wildlife and Ellen tells me of the struggles they faced to get the area protected for the harbour seals...
Living Coast Discovery Centre and US Fish and Wildlife
My second host in San Diego (and past NRMTS scholar) Haroun dropped me off at Gunpowder Point where I met with both the Living Coast Discovery Centre and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Back to Sunny San Diego
The next morning is an early start, as I am heading into San Diego to meet Drew Stokes, the ‘Bat Man of San Diego’ at the S.D. Natural History Museum!
America and wildlife
The USA was first place to recognise the need to protect areas and in 1872 Yellowstone National Park became a protected area. The USA has really led the way historically with nature conservation.
For my last day my hosts took me to the Greek church Agia Sophia which was quite surreal being in a Greek church in Los Angeles.
As I mentioned in the last blog, this time whilst in Los Angeles I am staying with a family who are super cool and have welcomed me into their home.
Back to Los Angeles
So, after another overnight greyhound bus ride (yes, I managed to sleep! Even if it was a bit squished) I arrived back in Los Angeles. This time though I am staying with a family which will hopefully give me a better experience of true L.A life.
Golden Gate Park
After the woods I was on such a high and so tired that I decided to stop one more night in San Fran. The next morning, I thought I would go to Golden Gate Park.
I get a phone call first thing in the morning telling me my tour is being moved to 1pm instead of 11am and that I will now only get to spend 45 mins in the Muir Wood National Monument...
Quick trip to San Francisco!
As some things got re-arranged I decided to book another bus from L.A to San Francisco. The reason being the magnificent redwood trees…
Jazz and Swing
The Jazz festival is a four-day event over Thanksgiving weekend each year and I am helping out over the weekend. The music is outstanding, and the dancers are so good...
Saturday morning and I get a cab to the Greyhound bus station. I met up with Gareth last night, one of the other scholars from the Nottingham Roosevelt Memorial Travelling Scholarship...
I arrived in the United States of America at LAX, Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day (23rd November)...