Intern blog: Being a field assistant

man in garden looking at insect tent

I’m Taliesin Valencia and I’m second-year environmental science student at the University of Stirling.

I had the chance to work with the Pollinator Project this summer, as a Field Assistant setting up a malaise trap in a fixed location, collecting samples from it each week, and then taking it down one month had elapsed.

I also helped Maddie Lucas in her field assistant intern role, where we surveyed eight total sample areas in Guernsey and another five in Sark. The purpose of these surveys was to take a small tarsal sample of Bombus terrestris, aka the Buff-tailed bumblebee, in a long-term project that will monitor the impacts of pesticide use across these two Channel Islands. This DNA sample will also enable us to determine how many unique bee colonies there are on the island. Our data is part of seven years of sampling data, which should correlate with the strides in the reduction of pesticide use that the Pollinator Project has achieved. Hopefully, we will see the buff-tail species population increase too!

I have always been interested in the environment around me; and from a young age I preferred non-fiction books about the different ecosystems and species inhabiting our planet. Throughout high school, this interest deepened when I began to study biology at a higher level. The inner workings of various ecosystems and how each species fits into a particular niche have always fascinated me.

The climate crisis and increasing awareness of our atmosphere led me to aim for an environmental science degree early in my academic career and I aspire to become an environmental consultant later in my career.

This experience with the Pollinator Project has been excellent, and I am very much looking forward to working with the charity again in the future.

Meet Maddie: our Field Intern helping us research bumblebees DNA

girl kneeling at bench doing bumblebee fieldwork

My name is Madison Lucas, and this summer I am working with the Pollinator Project as their 2023 field assistant intern.

I graduated in 2022 from the University of Leeds with a master’s degree in Ecology and Conservation Biology. Growing up in Guernsey fostered my love for nature, and now that I’m back living on island, I’m keen to use my studies and contribute towards protecting our incredible island ecosystem.  

In my spare time, I am a self-taught naturalist. I’m currently in the process of compiling a personal pan-species list – a ‘compendium’ of sorts where I record every species I have seen. My interest in naturalism developed more during the pandemic, when the Pollinator Project sent out a leaflet showing all the butterfly species that breed in Guernsey. I learnt how to identify the butterflies using the leaflet and spent that summer attempting to see at least one individual of each species. The most most exciting sighting was seeing the Glanville Fritillary, a species I had been taught about at university, but never seen.

Now, I have come full circle, and have the privilege of working with the charity which contributed so greatly to the development of my passion for our environment! 

This summer I am conducting bee surveys across Guernsey and Sark. The DNA samples I collect will be used to monitor the density of bumblebee colonies on the islands, ultimately allowing the team at the Pollinator Project to determine the impact of pesticide use on our local bumblebees. Along the way, I’m hoping to find a few species that are stubbornly missing from my Guernsey list – namely the Vestal Cuckoo bumblebee, and the Early Bumblebee.

More than anything, it’s great to get back into what every ecologist loves the most – field work! 

Latest news…


The Wild Escape Weekend 18th and 19th March

We are really looking forward to The Wild Escape Weekend at Candie Museum Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March. Come and meet us, join a workshop, do some colouring or even origami- we have lots happening.

From 10 am: we’ll have colouring, terracotta pot painting for you to take home, butterfly origami, advice and free flower seeds.
11am Sunday – Barry the Bugman will talk about Guernsey mini-beasts (aimed at kids but fascinating to all!)
2pm – Gordon will talk about why we work to save pollinators and how they are portrayed in art, new and old.
It’s at the Guernsey Museum at Candie, £7 for adults, £2 for age 7-17, free for under 7s. Or free with a Discovery Pass. All talks and activities are free too.
There are plenty of other child and art activities there too.

It’s a UK national event and you can find out more about the thinking behind the event





We are looking for a new Treasurer

The Pollinator Project LBG is one of the island’s most successful environmental charities. We know that our pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths and other flying insects are vital to our food supply, our well-being and biodiversity on the island. And that they are under threat. So in the 6 years since we formed we have focused on four core activities: education, citizen science, protecting habitats and campaigning against the use of pesticides.

In 2023 we will take on our first employee, launch bee trails and engage with over 4000 primary and junior school children when we share our love of moths with them among many other things. We pride ourselves on getting stuff done.


As our treasurer, you will be volunteering to be a member of the board, and to play a key role in our organisation. We hope you will bring financial controls, budgeting disciplines, manage our audit and relationships with insurers and the banks. And we know you will want to be more than our bookkeeper. You’ll have contacts, views on policies, and you might want to join us in a field or two.


We meet every two weeks to check in and as a board quarterly and flex our times and days to try and match those in full-time employment or with caring responsibilities. Your time commitment can be as little as an hour a week, but that’s how we all started…


Please contact our chair, Gordon Steele, in the first instance to explore how you might be part of helping Guernsey’s nature.

07781 401004


PS If you’ve seen this and just want to know more about us or better still have ideas, time for volunteering or some feedback we welcome that too.