A few days ago a student made contact with us asking about what they could do to keep going with their #natureconservationtraining while on lockdown. They had lined up various volunteering opportunities to gather experience which had been put on hold for the time being.
If you’re thinking about becoming a Countryside Ranger, Wildlife Conservation Officer or Wildlife Education Officer here are some things to think about and maybe do while on lockdown.
These are strange and challenging times and lots of things have been ‘put on hold’ for the time being. Having said that, anything you now do around learning about wildlife will be useful and help you towards your future with nature, whatever that might look like. There are added benefits for engaging with nature (through video/tv or directly while walking outside) – an increasing number of studies are showing that being in nature is good for you – good for your mental health and wellbeing. This means you have a least one reason for doing it (wellbeing) if not two (wellbeing and possible career).
Our feeling is that you can still make progress while under lockdown, just in a slightly different way. We’ll talk about ‘outdoor’ activities in our next blog, but it is also worth thinking about researching organisations and networks involved in nature conservation. Familiarising yourself with the wider network is really useful for your future (interview questions) as it shows to potential employers that you have a good understanding of our sector and this increases their confidence in you as a future employee.
As an example, how many of these might you be familiar with? NNR, LNR, Ramsar, Natura2000, SSSI, DNP, AONB, BTO, WWF, Class License, NT, DBS, NHBS, MBA (Plymouth), EA… etc.. All acronyms and words used in our sector, all potentially useful when engaging with wildlife work. If you’re not sure, try a friendly search engine, possibly adding ‘wildlife’ or ’nature’ to the word search.
Similarly the shape, size and governance of organisations involved in nature conservation are also great background areas of knowledge with which to engage – and lockdown can give us the time to do some of this……again using your favourite search engine. What do Trustees do? How are the Wildlife Trust’s governed? What’s the difference between an Non-governmental organisation (NGO) and a Local Authority (LA). What does the Environment Agency do? A general understanding of how the country Wildlife Trusts work locally and then nationally could be really useful for future job interviews.
… and finally, after lockdown, when you get that interview for a job, keep in mind that describing some of your answers to the above could be a good way of answering “What did you do during the lockdown?” That question will be on our list for future interviews…….