The Bay Trust

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The Bay Trust are an inspiring education, conservation and preservation charity based on the White Cliffs of Dover. They’re on a mission to get communities working collaboratively and igniting the public’s curiosity in nature and the world around them. They do this through a number of means – from sustainable working to outdoors learning and even a museum!

Over 10 weeks in 2018 I had the inspiring opportunity of collaborating with The Bay Trust.  My internship involved creating signage and learning materials for their gardens – showcasing the ecological features and the work of the charity.

 

 

 

If you run, you’re a runner

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Throughout my training so far, I’ve found myself saying the classic phrase of “I’m running the marathon”, then always clarifying it with “but I’m not a runner!”. Yet, I’m running at least 2.5 miles, three times a week. Therefore, I run! Just typing that sentence feels so weird but equally I don’t see why it should? For sure I’m not super quick, for sure, there are people who might even be able to walk quicker than I can run. But I run! I should also remember that this is the kid who had major spinal surgery at 13 and fell down the stairs in one of my only attempts at playing tennis – but now look at me!

If there’s something that you want to do but don’t know where to start or don’t think you’ll be able to – just start, you never know where it will take you!

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireNicholson7. Follow my progress to the London Marathon 2019 on this website and on my Instagram account: @clairesproject26.2. If you’d like to sponsor me in aid of Make a Wish UK and the Youth Sports Trust then the link is here: deficient-995122_1280

Week 3 – Muscles, Research and Motivation | VMLM 2019

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You might think 26.2 miles is a long way – the last week has shown me just how long that distance is! Sometimes, it really baffles me why people voluntarily drag themselves around a 42.16 kilometre course -for fun! Training is hard but I’m getting through each run – one by one, minute by minute! I’ve had a cold/cough for most of the week – so when everything builds up overnight it can be a challenge to drag my heffalump of a body out into the wilderness in temperatures well below freezing! Having said that though, I’ve come out the other side of the week! I’ve brought my 2019 total to 29.6 miles and the weekly total is going up and up with each week! I’m currently following the London Marathon’s beginners training plan and so far I’ve followed it to the letter!

I’m still struggling a bit with the consistent running, although I think some of that is the mental element of running. Whether it’s a slight element of boredom during a run, or exhaustion, I haven’t quite worked that bit out yet! That side of it is a little frustrating but despite all that, I could walk/run for aggesssss without being just unable to continue!

I’m currently trying out so many different methods of research to improve both my running style and technique. Since the start of the year, I’ve been reading Dame Kelly Holmes’ book “Running Life”, the Runner’s World, “Complete Guide to Race Training”, watching various videos – that kind of thing. It’s now a case of putting that all into practice! Bring on week 4!

Would you like to support my fundraising for the London Marathon? I’m raising money for the Youth Sports Trust and Make a Wish UK. Donate here. I really appreciate any donations of whatever size! If you’re unable to donate, then please share my donation link – thank you so much for your support!

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Today’s long run 

Science – getting the word out!

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Why should I know about science? Why does it matter to me?

Well, science, – love it or hate it, we can’t avoid it. You could probably define it as “how everything works”. From the make-up you use in the morning to your biological clock at night – science is the inner workings of the world and what makes everything work. Science puts order into the chaos – but yet only provides answers to such a small part of the world and beyond.

Science is all about asking questions. Science isn’t always about having the answers to all the questions but asking those questions. Science, I believe, is only developed through telling people about those questions – why does something happen, how does it happen? Above all – discussion.

So I guess, in the world of chaos, locally and globally this serves as a reminder to continue questioning everything. Explore the possibilities beyond whatever you know, whether that be in the world of science or beyond – don’t stick to what you know!

Macaw at Wingham Wildlife Park

This is a Macaw at Wingham Wildlife Park

Happy New Year!

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It’s finally 2019! At parts of last year I thought it would never come but it has! Most people make new years resolutions, I haven’t this year. Throughout this post I’ll chat about what my plans for 2019 are. The short answer is do more of what I did last year, though while eating less chocolate and worrying a bit less!

As you may already know, 2019 will be the year I run the London Marathon! As I’ve said before, I’m really no athlete, I HATE running but after I’ve done it I forget about the fact I get breathless and suddenly everything is okay! So I don’t know how that logic works, but I’m going on the premise I love a challenge, I like the idea of being strong and healthy, and I love achieving stuff, so I’m sure that works? 😉 I’ve just started the London Marathon beginners training plan – I’m documenting it over on my Instagram (clairesproject26.2), go give me a follow!

On a slightly less active note, there’s a small matter of a degree to finish! I’ve loved being at uni and still do – but I’m beyond excited to get stuck into the world of work! Of course I’ll continue updating this website throughout it all – the job hunting begins soon! I’ve got so many thoughts and ideas on what I want to conquer and work on, hopefully 2019 will be the beginning of all of this!

Over the next year I’ll be putting even more content on this website, from the pictures I take, to popular science and marathon training updates.

It’s going to be fun!

My links:

Instagram: @wildlifeclaire and @clairesproject26.2

Twitter: @WildlifeClaire

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This is one of my favourite photos of 2018, the London skyline

 

David Attenborough’s Dynasties – Reviewed

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Every animal in the world goes through a daily battle simply to live and breathe. The Chimpanzee is no different. Giving us another incredible insight into the planet, David Attenborough is back with his new series – Dynasties. This series focuses on one of the most powerful forces in nature. The family.

They battle for survival against the elements, and their rivals. We’re treated to a previously unseen glimpse into the chimpanzee’s family unit. Beginning in the arid conditions of Senegal in West Africa – this is the story of one chimp family.

It’s so hot and dry. This is the very limit of where they can survive. 32 chimpanzees are in this particular group, ruled by one incredibly strong and determined leader – David. As an alpha male, he gets the best of everything, but can trust no one. He’s surrounded by rivals prepared to kill him for his crown. This is a battle for power, politics and ultimately survival. He’s ruled over the troupe for three years – chimps don’t normally last longer than this in their position.  His torn ears are testament to the battles he’s already undergone to protect both his status and family.

Those battles are likely to get a whole lot harder. The dry season is beginning and his rivals are gathering once more. Normally alpha males have allies – but David is fighting his battles alone. He’s never been more vulnerable. His daily role is to keep order amongst the group – to display strength. Diffusing social issues – displaying to the group to show he’s in control.

Strength isn’t everything. David needs to be political to hold onto power – create allies. His first attempt at this is by grooming an older male named KL. He’s past the age to challenge for his role – but can, vitally, help to fight. In the world of chimps, grooming helps to build bonds and create friendships. Friends don’t solve everything though.

Dry season is beginning and the temperature soars to over 40 degrees. This creates ideal sand-pit conditions for the infants – but with the adults, tensions were rising. A new man – Luther. Displaying his strength – he begins to assert his power through intimidation. Displaying to the other chimps his power and ultimately his desire to reign over the group. David needs to do something and fast. This is a battle he can’t fight on his own.

As the dry season peaks – fires destroyed three quarters of their territory. Much of their food and shelter went up in flames – removing all the water with it.  The group need to stick together to survive. Chimps luckily have a good memory – they could use knowledge passed down from generations. They could use sticks to dig through the parched earth. Their reward? A hidden water source!

It’s one issue after another for their leader, David. Three out of seven females are coming into season  – all at the same time. This creates a social nightmare for David. He’s got to prove he’s got the authority. He’s got to prove he is the right male for one of the females to mate with. Rivals respond with displays of power. Chaos takes over the group.

As night falls, younger males have turned on David. As the sun comes up, it’s the job of the younger chimps and the females to tend to his wounds. They can’t stay there. Water’s running out – the whole group has to move onto the nearest water source. And that’s a 6 mile trek. They’ve got to leave David behind. David’s new ally, KL has to leave him for dead. This leaves a power vacuum at the top – who will take his place?

Friendless and wounded he somehow musters the strength to search for food he must rejoin the group before he’s exiled for good. Remarkably, a week later he makes the journey to find the others – no fit state to fight. Has to make himself look as bold as possible . reunited with comrade KL grooming each other reaffirms the bonds of friendship

The 6 mile trek is only half the battle. He’s made it but exhausted and fragile, holding onto his leadership by a thread. A let up is around the corner however. Rain filled clouds bring an end to a long drought. David’s territory is transformed, water everywhere and a glut of food. His displays are slowly becoming more assertive but he hasn’t had time to heal properly, he takes every given moment to gorge on more food.

Luther, the once fierce competitor, with a submissive gesture seeks forgiveness from David. Although he’s unwilling to accept. David begins to build on friendships with other males – older so they can’t challenge for power but strong enough to fight for him. Over following weeks Luther finds himself sidelined. Other males now gather round David, Luther has no choice but to step inline David has his group around him once more but he doesn’t show them how weakened he really is – injuries haven’t healed. Sure enough, a female comes into season – this is his chance to mate. Thankfully, the others have no choice but to step in line. 9 months later – a baby chimp!

The program may stop but the battle for survival continues. Females will continue to come into season – tension will rise and the whole thing will continue. The fight is never won. He may have gotten through this breeding season but he’s just buying himself some time until another female comes into season when he’ll face competition once again.

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Catch David Attenborough’s ‘Dynasties’ Sunday 8pm on BBC1

 

 

 

Wildlife Conservation and Social Media

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I’m coming to the end of my degree in Animal Science and I need your help! Do you know any 18-25 year olds? If so, I would be really grateful if you/they could fill this out for me. This is for my final year research project. If you have any questions then ask them in the comments or email me: cn165@canterbury.ac.uk.

Click on this link here for the survey.

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This photo was taken at Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury, Kent