Magical adventures down at Lower Sharpham Farm – Bethany Caley

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I first visited Lower Sharpham Farm back in June 2022. I had been accepted onto the 12 Week Nature Conservation Traineeship offered by Ambios and was lucky enough to be able to attend through one of their bursary placements. Coming from inner city Leeds with no professional experience of the outdoors, this traineeship was truly invaluable to me. I, along with many other brilliant trainees, spent long summer days out in the beautiful Devon hills, learning about botany, working in the kitchen garden, learning about bird identification, completing wildlife surveys, trying out woodwork, learning presentation skills and more. The team at Ambios provided so much support and guidance during the traineeship and were always on hand with helpful advice or words of wisdom. Overall, the whole experience gave me the valuable skills and knowledge I needed to pursue a career in the natural world.

After completing my training, I left the farm in September 2022 and by November I was offered a job working with Age UK Cheshire as their Green Connections Coordinator, a completely new role for the charity. I currently work with the public in Crewe, visiting the homes of older people referred to the project by local social prescribers and offering a free of charge gardening service. I offer general garden tidy-ups, which include weeding, hedge trimming, and general light garden work, all with a big emphasis on wildlife and biodiversity. Through my role, I am able to encourage people to connect with nature through wildlife-friendly activities such as putting up bird boxes, making mini ponds, creating herb gardens, and planting wildflower meadows. I love my job as it gets me out into the community and connected with nature. I truly believe that my time with Ambios really helped me to secure the role through the knowledge, experience, and skills I was taught whilst on my traineeship.

Since finishing my training with Ambios in September 2022, I have been down to visit the farm several times, with my most recent visit being to the Restoring Nature Literary Festival held on the farm in May. As Ambios does a lot of work with rewilding and connecting people with nature, four nature writers were invited to speak about their books and their experiences with the natural world. All four speakers took to the stage to discuss a whole array of things such as the ancient rainforests of Britain, the benefits of wild swimming and how it can further connect us with nature, journeys from the busiest parts of India to the most tranquil parts of England and the ever-increasing importance of our relationship with food, agriculture and the impending threat of climate change. The speakers spoke with passion, love and connection, all things that fit perfectly with the ethos of Ambios. The event was a magical experience and I can’t wait to see what brings me down to Lower Sharpham Farm next!

✍ Bethany Caley – Ambios Alumni (Summer 2022)

Author panel discussion at the Restoring Nature: Rewilding and Regenerative Agriculture Literary Festival 2023 (Left to right: Guy Shrubsole, Amy-Jane Beer, George Monbiot, Anita Roy)

Beth enjoying the live music, local farm-grown food and lunchtime atmosphere at the Restoring Nature literary festival

Beth and fellow trainees at their 12-week nature conservation traineeship graduation at Lower Sharpham Farm in summer 2022.

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