Conservation Skills Residential Volunteer


Forsinard, Sutherland, Scottish Highlands

Volunteer • Full Time 01641 571225 Claire Foot-Turner

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Thursday, 10th January 2019  

What we're looking for

We would like you to support all aspects of our work on this internationally important expanse of blanket bog, which at 21,000ha is the RSPB's largest reserve in the UK. We are looking for four enthusiastic residential volunteers to take up these placements from the start of March until the end of September to assist with the survey and monitoring, visitor, research and land management aspects of the site.


What’s In It For You:

In this role you will gain valuable experience in many key areas including natural history surveying and monitoring skills, visitor operations, practical management, fieldwork and data management.

The knowledge and skills gained from these traineeships will be of benefit for anyone wishing to pursue a career in conservation in a variety of areas, including reserves, people engagement, habitat work, wildlife surveys and research, as well as giving you an insight in to which areas you prefer working in.

We will provide training in the various elements of the traineeships, to enable you to learn and develop in the role and help us conserve this fantastic habitat.

Your main duties, will be divided between a variety of areas, subject to operational requirements, these can be broadly grouped as –

Assisting with the reserve’s survey and monitoring programme, this will include –

  • Bird surveys, such as undertaking Moorland Bird Surveys, monitoring rare and vulnerable wetland species, farmland wader counts and raptor watches.
  • Wildlife and habitat surveys.
  • Hydrological and ecological monitoring of habitat restoration areas and habitat condition.
  • Data management and GIS

Assisting with the visitor operations delivery at Forsinard, this will include –

  • Meeting and greeting visitors at our visitor centre.
  • Assisting with guided walks and other events.
  • Fundraising and membership recruitment.
  • Marketing and communications.

Assisting with land management tasks such as –

  • Trail and infrastructure maintenance.
  • Control of regenerating conifers.

Assisting with on going research on the reserve such as –

  • Undertaking surveys to help with applications for funding, grant reports and planning management calendars.

The skills you need


18 years or over. Available for full seven months. The ability to work outside in all weathers and walk long distances (up to 14km a day) on rough terrain. Full clean driving licence. Ability to identify upland bird species by sight, song and call. An understanding of the importance of working to methodologies and instructions, as well as keeping accurate and legible field notes. A keen and broad interest in natural history and conservation. An understanding of the importance of maintaining equipment and kit. Effective communicator with the ability to motivate, inspire and enthuse others, as well as form productive internal and external relationships. Good organisational skills, with familiarity with standard office software, especially Excel and a good standard of reading and writing. Keen and willing to learn and undertake various ecological survey techniques, including flora, fauna and hydrology. An understanding of the importance of following Health and Safety protocols. The ability to lone and team work. A willingness to engage with the team.


An interest and some knowledge of the habitats/challenges in the UK uplands. Ability to navigate by map, compass and GPS. Experience in a people facing role. Ability to live in shared accommodation. Ability to live in a remote rural setting. Some knowledge of the RSPB as an organisation.

Your time

Minimum: 7 months Duration: March - September inlcusive 2019 Period: March - September inclusive 2019


Please mention when responding to this ad.