Why We Want You:
We are looking for enthusiastic residential volunteers to join our small, friendly team here at Strumpshaw Fen to help with the delivery of both our practical and visitor experience work programmes. As a member of the Strumpshaw team you will become fully involved in all the work required to run a nature reserve. This will include practical habitat work, wildlife surveys, working shifts at the visitor centre – where you will enthuse the public through face to face engagement – assisting with events, managing day volunteers, maintaining infrastructure . . . . . . . . the list is endless!
What’s In It For You
With such a variety of work required, every day is different. You will be hard working and prepared to get stuck into whatever the day brings. 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. Surrounded by internationally important reedbed, fen, grazing marsh and wet woodland habitats you will be helping key species such as bittern, otter, breeding lapwing, bearded tit, the UK's largest and rarest Swallowtail butterfly and so much more.
Accommodation is provided in our residential cottage in the heart of the reserve. The cottage can house up to three residential volunteers at any one time, with 3 bedrooms and a shared fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, lounge and dining room. Working alongside staff and volunteers you will gain a range of practical, wildlife survey and people engagement skills and experience.
Just 6 miles east of Norwich, the nature reserve has good bus and rail connections with this vibrant city.
As a residential volunteer, you will undertake all aspects of practical habitat management, survey and monitoring, estate management and species protection – tasks vary depending on the time of the year. You will be involved in reedbed management such as scrub removal and vital habitat preparation work ahead of the breeding season. Learn how to conduct wetland/woodland bird surveys, assist with vital work to monitor and protect ground nesting birds, especially lapwings. Moth trapping and butterfly transects will improve your Lepidoptera skills, with the reserve supporting a host of butterfly, moth and dragonfly including the UK’s largest and rarest Swallowtail Butterfly.
Practical habitat work and maintaining visitor trails and infrastructure will be hard manual work and will include strimming and grass cutting, fencing and path building.
Enthusing and inspiring visitors about the wildlife they can see and experience at Strumpshaw Fen as well as the wider work of the RSPB, is equally as important as the practical work to create the spectacle and gain support for conservation. Therefore you should expect to spend some time contributing to our visitor experience operations, including working at the visitor centre and developing signage and interpretation and contributing to our social media channels.
We run activities for children and families, as well as special events for adults, and you will be encouraged to take the opportunity to help in planning and delivering these.
We will provide support and coaching through on the job learning to enhance the skills and experiences you need to be successful in pursuing a nature conservation career.
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 may be necessary, but time off will be given during the week instead.
You must be over 18, a full clean driving licence is not essential but if you have one that’s great as you will be able to drive the reserve's vehicles when carrying out tasks on neighbouring reserves.
Good identification skills, an ability to use computers/software and some previous practical/people engagement experience would be beneficial but it’s not essential. Most of all, you need enthusiasm and a passion for developing a conservation career.
Appropriate training will be provided and pre-agreed expenses will be re-imbursed where necessary.