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Philippa Cory

Philippa Cory tells how Watch nurtured her love of the natural world and helped pave the way to where she is now...

I  joined the newly set up Wyre Forest Watch group of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in 1989 when I was 8 years old, being one of the first members.  The group got up to all sorts of wildlife-themed activities such as bug hunts, pond dipping, fungi forays and wool dying with findings from the forest. I loved all of these, but especially enjoyed working on eight projects towards the Gold Award which I achieved in 1993. The award was presented to me by a blonde, spiky-haired Chris Packham so was quite a memorable occasion for a 14 year-old! Amongst others, my projects included a litter pick, a study of ants and talking to a local wildlife group about our activities at Watch.


I always knew that I wanted to work outdoors and attending Watch really helped to cement my interest in wildlife and the natural environment thanks to dedicated and enthusiastic leaders. We had lots of fun and learnt so much. 


Having obtained a UWE degree in Land Use at Hartpury College I am now a horticultural warden for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, part of a team managing one of the best conservation and birding sites in the country. Apart from maintaining the grounds around the centre our main duties are to look after the individual habitats for the wide collection of wildfowl which live in large open areas adapted to their continent of origin. Some days it can be very wet and cold but sunny days when there are lots of visitors makes up for it.


As part of my degree course I spent 8 months working on 4 different farms in New Zealand including picking macadamia nuts, growing organic vegetables and on a mountain sheep and venison estate. On my return I volunteered on Skomer Island, off the Pembroke coast and still go back for a week every year to help with bird and seal recording and ringing, general reserve maintenance and looking after the visitors.


At home I keep a few chickens and as a hobby I have a small herd of Dexter cows which are very time consuming but rewarding. All this gives me plenty of time in the open air surrounded by wildlife!

Philippa Cory


 Read more stories from ex-Wildlife Watch members here!