Clare Dore, DARD Countryside Management
I have always been interested in wildlife and in spending time outdoors in wild landscapes. After graduating in botany at Leeds University (a long time ago!) I worked on nature conservation projects all over the UK, in places as far flung as Shetland, Bardsey Island, Killiecrankie and Suffolk. Currently I work as a Countryside Management Adviser with DARD and I am an Observer on both the Causeway Coast AONB and the Antrim Coast & Glens and Rathlin AONB Management Groups.
Family holidays to the Highlands of Scotland and bird watching trips in Epping Forest and the Essex countryside helped me to become familiar with the birdlife of the UK. I am a member of the RSPB and the Ulster Wildlife Trust and I am a volunteer for the British Trust for Ornithology, carrying out annual breeding bird surveys in my local area.
One of my favourite hobbies is gardening both for flowers and vegetables in a garden which is just a little too large to remain constantly under control. Vegetable production has soared recently with the acquisition of a polytunnel!
The spectacular scenery of the Causeway Coast and the Glens of Antrim never fails to thrill me, be it in sunshine, showers or a northerly gale. White Park Bay and Ballintoy are local favourites and of course Rathlin Island – a very special place with an atmosphere all of its own. Perhaps one day the charismatic chough will be a common sight once more in Rathlin and along the North coast.