St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living


Park Rangers Nick and Harriet clearing pond
Park Rangers Nick and Harriet clearing pond

St Nicks is the green heart of York, a nature reserve and environment centre located just 1 mile from the city centre. We started by transforming a former landfill site into a thriving Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and we continue to manage it with the help of over 200 volunteers per year! From our eco-friendly base at St Nicks Environment Centre we run projects and services that help residents of York move towards a sustainable future. Our mission is to create lasting positive change in actions and attitudes of York residents to enable them to move towards a sustainable future and we run projects and services to help us achieve this goal.

Our organisation is a major player in the local sector, encompassing a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. St Nicks is a great place to work and volunteer – please see below if you would like to join our team by filling one of our current job/volunteer vacancies:

Volunteer Park Ranger

Our Volunteer Park Ranger role is the perfect opportunity for keen and enthusiastic individuals to gain vital experience needed to start a career in nature conservation. St Nicks is looking for someone who is highly motivated for a 6 month term to join a fellow Volunteer Park Ranger and assist with the rich and varied day-to-day tasks involved in managing a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and monitoring our incredible wildlife.

St Nicks is often referred to as ‘the green heart of York’. Once a landfill site, St Nicks has been transformed into a beautiful 24 acre nature reserve located just a mile outside of the city. Our mosaic of habitats includes grassland areas and meadows, maturing broadleaf woodland and scrub, riparian habitat and developing orchards, and boasts over 960 species.

From our eco-friendly base at St Nicks Environment Centre we also run projects and services that help residents of York move towards a sustainable future. These include a low-emissions kerbside recycling collection, running nature and sustainability themed events and our Ecotherapy programme.

The role

With our support and ‘on the job’ training, you will help the St Nicks team to look after our unique and diverse nature reserve through a wide variety of tasks such as wildflower seed sowing, scrub control, coppicing with standards, tree planting/ transplanting; leading and supporting volunteer groups; surveying and monitoring species and habitats; improving site access and maintaining signage; engaging with nature reserve users; and helping out at events.

With various habitats to manage over 24 acres and diverse groups of volunteers to lead and supervise, the Volunteer Park Ranger role presents and exciting and challenging opportunity for those looking to embark on a career within the sector. There will be the opportunity to take on and lead LNR projects such as improving and monitoring riparian habitats, helping us to create educational resources for visitors and volunteers and developing methodologies for habitat or species surveys to help us better monitor our wildlife and the site. There may also be opportunities to get involved with upcoming projects such as the potential beck daylighting project; removing the culvert that currently connects Osbaldwick and Tang Hall becks underground, and connecting the two via an open, natural corridor that will run through the nature reserve, improving the habitat for the many different species supported by the becks.

You will be supported in the role by our Volunteer Coordinator and Natural Habitats Manager who between them have 15 years’ experience managing and developing St Nicks LNR as well as a range of other wildlife habitats across York. You will receive practical training in all practical conservation tasks from our management team as well as working with our ecological monitoring team to survey and monitor the various species and habitats across the site and other green spaces. Projects will include river monitoring works such as freshwater invertebrate and riparian mammal surveys, working with our Wildwatch team to complete bird surveys and other wildlife data collection, ensuring useful data is being collected and logged regularly and using this to further develop our GIS mapping system. There will be opportunities to access additional training as we are always looking to further develop the skills and knowledge within the Nature Reserve Team, particularly in species and habitat monitoring. Formal first aid training will be arranged and provided for successful candidates and you will receive volunteer management and mental health awareness training to help better support our volunteers.

This role will suit anyone wishing to move into a career in conservation. Ideally, you will have some experience in practical conservation work and leading groups however this is not essential. What is most important is having a friendly and approachable nature with the ability to communicate well with a wide variety of people, being enthusiastic and having a willingness to try new things and get stuck into a task – no matter the weather conditions.

Through on-going supervision throughout the role, we will ensure that you are getting the experience that you want and can help you with your personal development. Volunteering for such a unique site and working with our diverse base of volunteers will give you a good solid foundation for moving forward in such a competitive sector, with the ability to develop existing skills and learn new ones. It will give you a good experience of the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of a ranger. Volunteering at St Nicks will fill you with a great sense of satisfaction and achievement and give you the opportunity to connect with our wonderful nature reserve in a way that many others don’t.

Length of commitment: 6 months

Total Hours: 3 days per week including Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, plus occasional Saturdays.

Find out what previous Volunteer Park Rangers thought about their experience and how it has helped them with their career goals by visiting out Volunteer Park Ranger page.

Application information:

If you think that this role would be suitable for you, please download a role description and application form. Please send completed applications and any queries to Maria Gill at

Volunteer Park Ranger role description (PDF download)

Volunteer Park Ranger application form 2019 (download)

This page was last updated 13 Dec 2019