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Volunteer shares experience of the Games and his role as wildlife surveyor in local wood

Published on: Monday 4th August 2014

Volunteer shares experience of the Games and his role as wildlife surveyor in local wood

Alan Kerr was one of four volunteers from Dunbartonshire awarded Commonwealth Games legacy tickets for ensuring the Kilpatricks, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow, are well maintained. Here Alan talks about his experience at the country’s biggest sporting event, and why he enjoys volunteering at a local beauty spot.

I volunteer as a wildlife surveyor for the Woodland Trust which owns the land at Lang Craigs wood in Dumbarton. I know the area well and have fond memories playing in the woods when I was a young child. I’d often visit with my parents and enjoyed going for long walks and spotting local wildlife.

I record bird life and plant species on certain routes, in line with British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) guidelines and Plantlife recommendations. The concept being that, as these species change and as the trees grow, I monitor and record the change of habitat. I also record butterflies and look for moths, and wildlife in general. We can learn a lot from the wildlife that visits and lives in our woods. It’s important to keep detailed monitoring reports so we can learn if there are changes year on year.

I have a grand time wandering around the woodland that I played in when young, and over the years visited for walks and exploring, but now it’s with a greater sense of purpose. It makes this pastime even more enjoyable and worthwhile.

I was both surprised and delighted at the same time to be given legacy tickets for the squash at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I played squash up to last year and with my ticket I was able to watch the world numbers one and two, and also the Scottish Champion, Alan Klyne.

Messrs Matthew and Windstrop went on to contest the final but the game of the session was young Michael Craig of Northern Ireland who played the Indian champion, Harinder Pal Sandhu. The first game was very close but experience told in the end and Harinder Pal went on to win. The atmosphere at Scotsoun was a delight, everyone was very friendly and helpful and by chance I managed to get a seat beside the scorer. The all glass court and white ball made watching a pleasure, so much better than on television as you could really appreciate the brilliance, skill and athleticism of the players.


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