HSBC staff from across the South West recently took part in a team-building day of volunteering with The Donkey Sanctuary. The team of seven Business Development Managers and a colleague from Axa UK, swapped their desk jobs for a day in the great outdoors helping the charity’s wildlife projects.
After a welcome talk from the Sanctuary’s Head of Communications, Dawn Vincent, the group set about constructing dormouse nest tubes from recycled cartons as part of a project to monitor numbers of this rare mammal. The team positioned their 50 tubes along an ancient hedgerow and recorded the location coordinates so each box can be monitored over the coming months. With plenty of climbing and jumping to get the box in the right position it was a physical and challenging task at times, but made all the more enjoyable by the unseasonably warm weather.
After lunch, the team then set off to survey an established scheme in The Donkey Sanctuary’s woodland with licensed dormouse surveyor Adrian Bailey. As dormice are considered an endangered species in many areas of the UK, this scheme had been set up over a year ago to monitor local dormouse numbers. Although the woodland showed definite signs of dormice, surveys had not yet registered any living in the boxes.
To everyone’s surprise, the very first box opened contained a neat pile of brown leaves. Adrian parted the leaves carefully and revealed an inner nest of tightly woven honeysuckle bark. It was official: we had found the first dormouse nest of The Donkey Sanctuary’s survey! With bated breath, the team watched as Adrian gently revealed that the nest was occupied by an adorable adult male dormouse which Adrian weighed, measured and then returned safely to his nest box.
We were still congratulating ourselves on our good fortune when just minutes later in a nearby box we discovered a second nest, this time containing a female dormouse. After processing and recording this second dormouse, it was time to move across the Sanctuary for some grooming and cuddles with the donkeys.
Thank you to the HSBC team for their hard work and enthusiasm throughout the day, and also for being such brilliant good luck charms in helping us locate the first dormouse nests of our study. They also proved to be dab hands at grooming and clearly enjoyed spending time with our beautiful rescued donkeys who are safe thanks to the work of our charity.
We have many opportunities for groups and businesses to get involved in volunteering with The Donkey Sanctuary. Look out for your chance to get involved in our dormice and other wildlife events in 2014 by signing up for our events email or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org