Practical Reserve Management Placements

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Various WWT sites throughout the UK

Volunteer • Full Time 07788 367434 Sarah Hall

Reference: PRMP/2021

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, environmental education

Closing date: Monday, 16th November 2020  

Why do we need you?

At WWT we create and conserve wetlands and save species. As one of the UK’s leading wetland conservation organisations we have a long history of managing wetland sites and species as well as conducting research into wetland wildlife. Our ten sites are located across the UK but all are exciting places to be throughout the year, providing refuges for many different plants and animals.

We are looking to recruit full-time volunteers for a 12 month period who will help us to manage our nature reserves and support our work to save wetlands for wildlife and people. These are great opportunities for people looking for experience in practical conservation as a reserve warden or similar outdoor career. Accommodation is provided at some of our Centres.

Who will be responsible for your role? Reserve/Site Manager

Where will you be based? At one of 8 WWT Wetland Reserves located across the UK: Arundel, Castle Espie, Llanelli, London, Martin Mere, Slimbridge, Steart, Washington

How much time will it take? These are full-time placements for 12 months, starting in August/September 2021

What will you be doing?

Duties may include some or all of the following:

  • Assisting with all practical reserve management activities including grassland cutting, scrub control, pruning, coppicing and weed control
  • Assisting with the construction and maintenance of ponds, scrapes, ditches and reed beds
  • Assisting with the management of grazing livestock
  • Facilitating and undertaking water quality monitoring
  • Supporting with the construction and maintenance of access routes including the maintenance of fences, bridges and viewing hides
  • Undertaking agreed training in order to operate machinery with proper regard to safety regulations, in accordance with WWT’s health & safety procedures
  • Using all tools safely and correctly and observing and applying health and safety regulations at all times, including daily risk assessments and machinery checks
  • Supporting research and monitoring activities which may include surveys for species such as breeding and wintering birds, water voles, dragonflies and wetland plants
  • Contributing to the upkeep of the nature reserve’s databases
  • Assisting with the upkeep of visitor’s wildlife sightings, bird boards and website and sharing responsibility for wild bird feeding stations
  • Assisting with events for visitors and media related activities
  • Assisting with the daily running of the Visitor Centre, facilities and admissions
  • Taking due care for the safety, welfare and enjoyment of the visiting public
  • Possibly assist with the day to day running of the bird observatory (subject to opening) which could involve talking to visitors, conducting surveys, daily counts and bird ringing (Martin Mere only)
  • If volunteering as a student placement you will be able to carry out your own research project if required by your university as part of your assessment, supported by the expertise of relevant WWT staff

Who are we looking for?

Practical nature conservation is often physically demanding, can be repetitive and involves working outdoors in all weather conditions. We are looking for keen and enthusiastic people who love nature and support the work of WWT.

This role will suit you if you are:

  • Practical and physically able
  • Able to enjoy volunteering outside in all weathers
  • Interested in practical wildlife conservation with some previous experience of a similar role
  • Able to work in a team of staff and volunteers
  • Proactive and able to carry out tasks with a minimum of supervision, or independently under the direction of the reserve team
  • Able to follow instructions and manage time efficiently
  • Comfortable volunteering on a site with livestock
  • For student placements the ability to develop scientific ideas and design a suitable research project
  • The ability to cycle is important at our Llanelli Wetland Centre

The following would be desirable but not essential;

  • Certificates in the use of chainsaws and brushcutters
  • A clean driving licence and experience of tractor driving
  • Experience in managing small groups of volunteers
  • Bird identification skills are particularly useful as is the ability to identify other wildlife
  • Familiarity with entering data into databases

How will you benefit?

  • Accommodation including utility bills will be provided at Martin Mere, Slimbridge, Washington and Llanelli but not at any of our other sites offering places (Arundel, Castle Espie, Steart and London)
  • This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the management of important wetland sites and to learn the skills and techniques used to manage a variety of different habitats for wildlife
  • Volunteer in an amazing environment with a very friendly, sociable team
  • If undertaking volunteering as a student placement, guidance for your personal research project is provided by friendly staff with significant experience in their field
  • Training package relevant to WWT site is provided. This may include training on some or all of the following: use of brushcutters, tractors, pedestrian mowers and ATVs, safe hand tool use, risk assessments, wildlife ID and survey, data handling and recording and customer service
  • Suitable WWT uniform is provided
  • A discount is available in WWT cafés and shops
  • Free entry to all WWT centres throughout the UK on presentation of your WWT name badge

General notes:

This is a full-time opportunity which will, from time to time, require volunteering during some evenings, weekends and public holidays. Placements are entitled to 25 days annual leave. This role is unpaid but accommodation (including utility bills) is provided at some sites. The exact hours you are able to contribute will be discussed prior to placement. There will be a training week at the Headquarters in Slimbridge for successful candidates prior to the commencement of their placement year at their chosen sites.

We regret we are not in a position to reimburse expenses incurred in travelling to and from the site, but any pre-agreed expenses incurred in the course of your duties will be reimbursed.

This position is entirely voluntary and is therefore unpaid. Any offer of a volunteer opportunity is not intended to create a legally binding contract between us and any agreement may be cancelled at any time at the discretion of either party. Neither of us intends any employment relationship to be created either now or at any time in the future.

How to Apply:

Please go to to see details of this role and then complete and submit the application form. Please email if you have any problems with completing the application form.

Closing Date:

Please return all completed application forms by Monday 16th November 2020. After this date successful applicants will be asked to come for an informal interview either at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre, the Martin Mere Wetland Centre or by Skype call in the week commencing 30th November 2020, to find out more about the role and discuss availability after which suitable candidates will be offered placements.

Please mention when responding to this ad.