What employment sector do you work in?
How long have you had a green job for nature?
£20,000 – £25,000
Please describe the work that you do.
As a ranger I aim to be a visible presence in the national park, acting as a first point of contact and as eyes and ears of the NPA. We hope to increase the understanding of visitors and local people of the natural beauty, biodiversity and cultural heritage of the National Park. We patrol the Park, deliver literature to local businesses, run guided walks and educational activities, carry out species monitoring and lead practical habitat management days with our volunteers.
What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?
I love being able to help people enjoy nature, being able to point out what wildlife is around and how they can get the most out of the National Park and have a memorable and fun experience. Welcoming people that have never been to the area too is so rewarding, being able to share in the joy of the outdoors is really special. I also love how varied the work is – no day is the same. I am able to see how the landscape differs season upon season, so I get to see everything the natural landscape has to offer. I love that I can feel like I’m doing my bit in helping protect these special areas for generations to come
What inspired you into this career?
Being able to help protect habitats and wildlife that can’t fight for themselves is really what inspired me at the beginning – knowing you can make a difference to the longevity of the landscape around you. I am also inspired every day by the passion of others – it’s infectious and I feel very fortunate I get to work with such like-minded people. We all want to do our best not only for the wildlife and environment, but we also want to help give people the tools to access these green spaces for mental wellbeing – nature is and always should be for everyone.
Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far?
I think finding the balance of needing to volunteer to show your dedication to the field but also ensuring you’re able to sustain not earning whilst getting the most out of your opportunity. The sector relies heavily on volunteers but it’s very hard to put unpaid time into something. I was very fortunate that I could live at home for free and work in a local pub to save up pocket money between internships/seasonal roles both abroad and in the UK but I know that’s often not possible – even more so at the moment. It’s a competitive field when applying for roles but I think that’s one of the biggest challenges in moving up the ladder is there’s only so much unpaid work you can sustain.
What education/training did you have?
I went to college to do A levels and then went on to university as it was what all my friends were doing. After finishing a photography degree, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I moved home and went back to working in the pub I’d always worked at. I saved up to volunteer on a turtle conservation project in the Caribbean. What was meant to be a 6-week trip really opened my eyes and sparked my passion for the environment and conservation. I spent the next 3 years, volunteering, interning and eventually gaining paid seasonal roles on different projects around the world from Malaysia to Ascension Island.
I got to the point where I needed some formal qualifications and some experience in UK conservation. I needed to earn some money to turn my experience into a career. This is when I secured a 13-month apprenticeship gaining qualifications in Chainsawing, Brushcutting and first aid alongside Level 2 Diploma in Environmental Conservation whilst working in the field at 5 different placements with partner organisations within the Forest. From Forestry England to National Trust, Hampshire County Council and the Wildlife Trust. It gave me practical on the ground experience whilst learning the theory behind habitat management decisions and enabled me to forge working relationships with charities and government organisations that I could potentially work for afterwards. I couldn’t recommend apprenticeships enough, a really crucial learning experience in this sector.
What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession?
Listen and be passionate and don’t worry about what you don’t know yet. If you can afford to, volunteer. Even if it’s an afternoon a month, or a litter pick when you can. It all counts to showing your dedication and you don’t know who you’ll meet or who you’ll talk to along the way. It sounds cliche but keep going and don’t give up.