Trainee Warden


RSPB Mersehead, Dumfries & Galloway

Volunteer • Full Time 01387 780298 Rowena Flavelle

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Friday, 31st January 2020   3 days left

Residential Volunteer-Mersehead-Trainee Warden

What we're looking for

Would you like to wake up every morning and go to work on an incredible coastal reserve with amazing views across the Solway Firth and the Galloway hills? Are you passionate about nature conservation and helping visitors to have an amazing experience with nature? If so, Mersehead would love to hear from you! Under RSPB management since 1993, Mersehead boasts a wide variety of habitats in breath-taking surroundings set adjacent to the wide expanses of intertidal sandflats on the Solway Firth, the large skies and seascapes give a feeling of escape with stunning views towards the Lakeland fells and the Isle of Man, Criffel and the Galloway hills shelter the reserve behind. We are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer wishing to gain practical experience in conservation land management. As a member of the RSPB Mersehead team you will become fully involved in all the work required to run a nature reserve. This will include wildlife surveys, practical habitat work, chatting to visitors, assisting with events, managing day volunteers, maintaining infrastructure . . . . . . . . the list is endless! With such a variety of work required, every day is different. You will be hard working and prepared to get stuck in to whatever the day brings.

The skills you need

We need someone who has an enthusiastic and friendly personality and is a good team player, keen to learn lots about conservation and wildlife. You must have good communication and people engagement skills with the confidence to talk to people from all walks of life. You must be happy working outdoors in all weathers in what can be very challenging physical and repetitive work. Some weekend working is an essential part of the role, but time off will be given during the week instead. You must be over 18, and a full clean driving licence is essential as you must be able to drive the reserve's vehicles. Good bird identification skills, an ability to use computers/software and some previous practical/people engagement experience would be beneficial but not essential. Most of all, you just need enthusiasm and a passion for developing a conservation career.

What's in it for you?

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to wildlife conservation, bring people closer to nature and start a career in conservation. You will learn what it takes to run and manage a nature reserve and will gain a valuable insight into Europe's largest conservation charity. You will be living in our recently converted farmhouse in the heart of the reserve, becoming fully immersed in the life of RSPB Mersehead. Working alongside staff and volunteers you will gain a range of practical, wildlife survey and people engagement skills and experience. Through the winter months you will learn how to count thousands of Svalbard Barnacle geese. The Natterjack toad, a European protected species and the UK's rarest amphibian, can only be found in Scotland along the Solway Estuary with the largest colony found at RSPB Mersehead. Nocturnal surveys in the spring see us out with torches counting the number of toads present and assessing population dynamics by taking body length measurements. You learn how to conduct breeding wader surveys across the wetland habitats with energy focused on monitoring lapwing productivity. Moth trapping and butterfly transects will improve your Lepidoptera skills. Practical habitat work will be hard manual work, removing willow, strimming and grass cutting, ragwort pulling, fencing, path building. You will chat to visitors and assist with guided walks and events. Our popular Badger Banquets will be your opportunity to run and manage your own event. We will provide support and coaching through on the job learning to ensure you gain the skills and experiences you need to be successful in pursuing a nature conservation career.

Your time

  • 5 days a week
  • January 2020 to End of August 2020
  • Shared Residential Volunteering flat provided on the reserve. All you need to do is provided your own food. All volunteers will have their own bedroom. This is a remote site so your own transport would be advantageous. Appropriate training will be provided and pre-arranged expenses will be re-imbursed where necessary.

How to apply

Send a full CV and covering letter to:

Rowena Flavelle, Mersehead Warden

Please mention when responding to this ad.