Snow joke for new St Abbs Marine Reserve ranger

AFTER previously testing out Berwickshire's reputation as a diving hotspot, Georgia Conolly is now jumping into her new role as Marine Ranger at St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 10:34 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 10:34 am

Georgia has been in post since January 12 and is keen to develop an area she is already a massive fan of, having, like many others, travelled up to explore the marine life beneath the surface of the North Sea on a number of occasions.

Unfortunately, one of the other things the east Berwickshire coast is famous for is chilly temperatures, and the heavy snowfall last month meant that Georgia didn't get off to the smoothest start in her new job.

"I moved into the ranger's cottage in St Abbs Head but then got snowed in for six days," she explained.

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"The roads were completely inaccessible so I wasn't able to get into work- not the best start in your new career but I got here in the end and I'm enjoying myself so far."

Prior to becoming the new ranger at St Abbs, Georgia studied for a degree in Environmental Science, specialising in Marine Ecology and Climate Change, before moving on to work for the National Trust in East Sussex and comparing the two places, she said Berwickshire was a completely different kettle of fish.

"Berwickshire is nothing like East Sussex - the geology is extremely soft there and the water is very turgid whereas, I know from my own diving experience that the water quality in Berwickshire is fantastic.

"The one thing they do have in common is the type of species in their waters and I'm keen for people to come and see what the North Sea has to offer.

"When people look at the sea, they tend to just see it as cold and murky but there is so much more to the marine environment than people think, and I'd like to show them."

Georgia is wasting no time in arranging events for people to explore the coastline, and she's given herself a packed diary to get stuck into.

There are Seashore Safaris from April to September and a number of occasions to mark including World Oceans Day, Low Tide Day and the International Day of Biodiversity.

Georgia is also throwing herself into another new project- developing a new leaflet on rockpooling so visitors to east Berwickshire can get the most out of their experience.

And as well producing a helpful guide for tourists, Georgia is keen to make sure that Berwickshire's marine attributes are well protected. She has already taken part in a number of beach cleans and is keen to work with the local community get the better of litter which is a thorn in the side of many UK seasides.

Although she has only been in post a few weeks, Georgia has already had a rather interesting task to carry out, rescuing a seal pup who came in with the tide.

And as someone who has loved the sea since a young age, Georgia is hoping that there will be plenty more fascinating discoveries during her time as ranger.

She continued: "I have always been completely captivated by the sea and marine life.

"I took up surfing when I was little and that fuelled my interest further.

"Berwickshire is a fantastic place for people to come on holiday as it has a lot to offer and I hope that by working closely with the local community, schools, diving fraternity and businesses we can develop its potential even further."

Georgia has replaced Liza Cole as marine ranger, who has now changed desks to become property manager, a role previously occupied by Kevin Rideout, who recently retired after 23 years at the reserve.