Park Rangers Nick Denman and Harriet Lowery have just finished their six month volunteer internships. We sent them some questions about their time at St Nicks to find out more about the role and what they got out of it.
How would you describe St Nicks to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
Harriet: St Nicks is a place where local people come together to learn about nature, learn new skills, improve the nature reserve or just to enjoy the views and say ‘hi’ to other dog walking regulars! Whether in the Environment Centre or our on the reserve, there are always friendly faces to see.
Nick: I would describe St Nicks as a drop in clinic for the perpetually outdoorsy and green fingered.
What did the role of Park Ranger Intern involve?
Nick: I spent most of my time leading on the regular practical conservation days with a group of very friendly and hard working volunteers on St Nicks Nature Reserve. We would spend the majority of time performing practical management tasks to improve the quality of the nature reserve for both wildlife and people.
Harriet: We also did surveys of the wildlife to find out where our help was most needed.
Did you learn anything new in the post?
Harriet: Where to start? Wildwatch really helped me to improve my species ID skills, something that makes even my walk to work so much more interesting now! I learnt a lot about the management and development of a nature reserve and it’s habitats too.
Nick: During my time there I learned a lot about working closely with people from a variety of backgrounds, as well as plenty about the natural world and how to effectively manage a nature reserve.
What was your favourite thing about volunteering at St Nicks?
Harriet: Being outside and the people. I think both combined to make it a really positive experience. The volunteers make every day different and the staff were always interested and supportive.
Nick: My favourite part was working closely with a fabulous crew of volunteers.
What was your least favourite thing?
Harriet: Not being able to do everything! There’s only so much time in a day.
Nick: Dog muck.
What are your career aspirations and how does this role fit into that?
Nick: My career plans are to continue working in the conservation sector, in an effort to make a positive contribution both for wildlife and for people.
Harriet: I would like to work in the environmental sector and this role helped me to get an idea of what working in conservation or an environment centre is like. The experience working with a team of volunteers and alongside staff at the centre is also something I will take with me and this will help me be more confident in the future.
What’s next for both of you?
Nick: My next step is working with Natural England as an estate worker on an NNR to preserve and improve areas of lowland raised bog near to Doncaster.
Harriet: Back to university for me to finish my degree, with the odd visit to St Nicks of course!
Learn more about all of the volunteer roles available at St Nicks here.