On Monday this week, I had my first ever experience with working for FWAG Southwest. I’d certainly heard about the company and some of what they do as my Dad is Chief Executive Officer. But aside from hearing him talking about it over the kitchen table, I really didn’t know much about what the company did. However on this overcast Monday morning, I was excited for my first day of work. On that day I found myself on the beautiful Exmoor national park where the plan for the day was to test the water of the river Haddeon. Whilst the weather varied, it was perfect for this activity. Walking across the lush green fields to and from each site really showed me why this job is so appealing to all the staff at FWAG. However, now back at the office, the long, and at times tedious, testing process on the water also showed me how hard all the staff work on just a small part of their jobs. It really opened my eyes on how different the world of work is to the world that I’m part of now.

My highlight of the week by far was Wednesday, where I was taken out to the amazing Merriot Stream enhancement project. I had heard much about this project at home and knew what it was but I wasn’t prepared for the outstanding work that had been done to bring this river back to life. From pictures I was shown, it was a mere pipe just a couple of years ago, and during the first year of the project a bit of a mud bath. But, when I arrived, I saw a very different scene. I saw a river full of life, the most dragonflies and damselflies I’d seen in this country, butterflies and the sound of chirping crickets all around. I simply couldn’t believe that this project had only been in this state since March. It was an amazing sight. On that day, we were doing a survey on the river and it was great fun, especially drawing the cross sections of the river and looking for the local wildlife. I managed to get a couple of close-up (if a little out of focus) pictures of a beautiful damselfly. On this morning I saw clearly why all FWAG’s advisors were so passionate about their jobs.

Later that day, I was given the opportunity to go to Willey Farm owned by Jim Mawle, who were the winners of the Devon Otter trophy. We were there for the evening farm walk which I had been looking forward to all week. After all the guests had gathered, we were given a tour of the farm by Jim, and it became immediately obvious to me why Jim had won that award. There is another blog about the farm walk that I wrote here. The farm was beautiful, and full of diverse natural habitats and wildlife. A highlight of the walk for me was when a field mouse darted through the undergrowth just in front of us. The tour was very interesting, and the wealth of knowledge Jim had about his farm and all the wildlife living there showed me how passionate he is about nature and its place in farming. It was amazing to see and certainly showed me that farming whilst benefiting the environment is more than just not using crop inputs.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at FWAG, even though it was just a short time. Its taught me a lot about what they do but also what work is like and how completely different it is to school. I’m so lucky and proud to have worked there for this short time.