I work for the National Trust on the Killerton Estate and have recently changed roles from Ranger to Area Ranger. Working on a large estate and with the ever changing seasons, my job varies greatly from month to month – no two days are the same! I carry out a range of tasks including the following: access work, fencing, dormouse surveys, butterfly and floral surveys, coppicing, hedgelaying, tree planting, and not forgetting the lovely task of traditional cider making. It certainly keeps the job interesting! My current areas of focus are seed harvesting for meadow creation, agroforestry, access improvements, and running the badger vaccination programme for the estate. 

After not knowing exactly what career path I wanted to take, I chose to study Zoology at university, as I enjoyed being outside and wanted to learn more about nature – finding plants and animals fascinating. After graduating, I volunteered with the RSPB on Aylesbeare Common and with the Sid Vale Association (SVA) in Sidmouth before starting a trainee ranger position with the National Trust at Branscombe. I was there for 2 years working part time alongside volunteering, and all my training was funded by the SVA. Having gained a lot of experience, I then managed to get a couple of Assistant Ranger jobs before getting a permanent role with the Trust. 

Top tips: 

Make the most of opportunities. – Volunteering is a fantastic way to get into the conservation sector, and building relationships and getting to a know a site well is really rewarding. But it is just as important to try out a range of opportunities whilst you have the chance to do so. This could be as simple as joining local wildlife groups or attending tree planting events. By experiencing a range of practical tasks, habitats, organisations etc, you can really get a feel for where your passions lie. It also gives you the chance to network with others – handy for future job interviews when the recruiters can put a face to a name. 

Keep a record of your experiences – Make sure to note down any experiences or skills you gain, keeping a diary of what you do each week is really helpful when applying for jobs. It’s easy to forget what tasks you have carried out last week, let alone last month!

Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the profession – Having a positive, can-do attitude is a great way to make you stand out from others. Attending free courses or successfully completing a task to a high standard shows your dedication to the profession. 

Hone your transferable skills – Having the basics sorted is key. Someone with good communication skills, ability to work well in a team, good motivation and organisational skills has all the starting blocks in place to be able to learn the knowledge, expertise, and skills required for a successful future in conservation. 

Griselda Tucker

SVBG is a not for profit organisation dependant on volunteers, grants and donations.  Without funding we cannot operate and many of our biodiversity projects will cease.

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