Meet the Volunteer: combining volunteering and photography on the North Chilterns Chalk

Frog orchid by Eglė Vičiuvienė - cropped for header

Photographer and volunteer Eglė Vičiuvienė shares her experience of volunteering with the Trust

I started volunteering with the Wildlife Trust BCN in winter 2018. Being a biologist and photographer, but not working in the field at that time, I was looking for opportunities to keep myself engaged with natural sciences. I got involved in man orchid surveys first, helping to assess the population across Totternhoe Nature Reserve. I also participated in slow worm surveys, helping with spreading the tiles across the Nature reserve and later checking them during the season. Another exciting opportunity was when conducting frog orchid surveys on Dunstable downs.

I had the chance to be part of group surveys organized by Wildlife Trust staff, and also self-led surveys of butterflies at Totternhoe and Sewell Nature Reserves. This opened up all new possibilities to stay outdoors, take pictures and familiarize myself with local fauna and flora.

As a photographer I found volunteering very rewarding, as I was able to support with surveys and in return, I gained knowledge about the local species I was interested in, their habitats and best places to look for them. In the photo set you can see all the rare and interesting species I have encountered during the self-led and group volunteering activities. Most notable the Green Hairstreak, Duke of Burgundy, Musk orchid, Man orchid and frog orchid.

In the future I still hope to take part in bat and dormouse surveys, as this would be a great opportunity to see and take photos of species I have not before!

More of my work can be found on Flickr and Instagram.

Eglė also came third in our 2019 Photography Competition with her 'Predator vs Prey' image of a sawfly larva and a parasitic wasp on opposite sides of a leaf.