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Sarah - Volunteer, Natural History

Sarah

Volunteer

My name is Sarah and I live locally in Colchester. At the time of writing this, I’d just finished at Colchester Sixth Form, studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Environmental Studies. I will be volunteering in the Natural History department until I leave to study for an MSc in Marine Biology at the University of Southampton.

I was inspired to volunteer after watching the Youtube channel ‘The Brain Scoop’

I work every Thursday on the Herbarium and Bird Study Skin packing projects.

Bird study skins

The bird skin project is my favourite and is usually done in the afternoon. This involves heat sealing the bird skins into bags to protect them from pest damage.

The drawers are sprayed with insecticide to get rid of pests. They are then lined with new sheets of acid-free paper and the birds are returned.

Some baby geese or goslings were found last week. They are much easier to package than adult birds due to their small size.

Herbarium packing

We usually work on the herbarium in the morning, It involves packing the herbarium folders into bags to protect them from pest damage.

Each folder contains specimens from a plant species, some of which were collected in the 1800s. I like to look at the dates and locations of collection.

The vast majority of specimens were collected locally, such as roses from Tiptree and brassicas from Layer-de-la-Haye. I have even found some collected on the day I was born!

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