THIS summer our University of Reading intern, Brianne del Rosario, worked with us for seven weeks. This is Brianne’s account of her time.

Over the past seven weeks I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work at Didcot Railway Centre with its welcoming and helpful staff and volunteers.

For three days a week, I worked with Ann Middleton’s team to create an environmental management plan for the Didcot Railway Centre as well as working with the Great Western Trust to display the Great Western Collection in an exciting and creative way.

Didcot Railway Centre is a joy to explore with an extensive historical and industrial background. Wildflowers such as mignonettes, campions, and viper’s bugloss have happily settled on the site’s low-quality soil which has led to a healthy population of wildlife such as butterflies, bees and even woodland mammals.

My task was to create an environmental management plan for the wildflowers, trees and invasive species beginning to pose health and safety risks to members, visitors and rolling stock while sustaining the wonderful biodiversity thriving at the Didcot Railway Centre.

I looked at practical and sustainable options the centre can apply while being mindful of potential hazards, aesthetics, labour and costs.

One of the most valuable experiences I had this summer was being advised by Guy, a tree surgeon who graciously donated an afternoon to help me identify major risks around the site and the treatment options from a professional perspective. He explained many different options, treatment and concepts according to each species, location and potential risks faced by tree policy makers.

I also worked with the Great Western Trust photography team who were always willing to share their knowledge about the Great Western Railway.

With the trust, I looked at ways that the museum collection can be displayed in a contemporary way that people of all ages can enjoy.

Other experiences included developing my leadership skills to mentor students about the environmental impacts of running a business as well as enhancing my customer service skills as a museum steward.

During the internship I was given the chance to be in a workplace environment; to work on a project against a deadline, work as part of a team and as independently. I am glad that I was able to do it working alongside such a passionate, devoted and hard-working team.