Our Transforming Lives trainees recently spent some time with staff at Nene Park for some skills shadowing. They all learnt some valuable skills and can add it to the skills already learnt during their time with our Reserve Warden too. Here is what they had to say:
“Spending the day shadowing Gary and Matt the Nene park rangers was a good insight into how their work differs from ours in the first half of the day was spent with Gary who manages the conservation of the site it was interesting to learn about how they manage the habitats around the park. On the day we visited Gary and his volunteers were pruning tree’s to help improve the structure of the tree and remove any dangerous limbs Whilst we helped Sophie (one of the park rangers) and her volunteers put the cut down limbs into the chipper. The second half of the day we shadowed Matt who is one of the park rangers, whilst shadowing Matt we learned about the variety of jobs he undertakes on a daily basis, one of his first jobs of the day is to check all of the play areas for damage, vandalism, and faulty equipment. Later in the day we went with him to respond to a call from a member of the public about a ticket machine not working then we drove around the woodlands checking for anything that could be a danger to the public we also helped him put up some new signs around the park. it was a very enjoyable experience and was nice to see how they manage their site.”
Here at Froglife, we carry out conservation in an extremely unique way. Hampton, our most special site, is home to the largest great crested newt population in Europe and is also a private reserve. Because of our focus on retiles and amphibians, I think sometimes we can forget that not all conservation is so focused and homed-in on a specific species.
This is why I enjoyed my time shadowing the lovely staff at Nene Park Trust. We were able to see what a more holistic approach to conservation entailed. It really highlighted the ins and outs of managing a very large reserve that is open for members of the public to enjoy and spend time in. The best part of the day, however, was assissting the Reserve Wardens in their endeavour to keep tree lines looking neat and tidy. In order to do this, we used the wood chipper to devour branches that had been cut by the chainsaw. It was a novelty to use such big and noisy machinery!
There is a plethora of examples of different research pertaining to the idea that access to greenspace is incredibly important for human flourishing. For example, Public Health England noted that “it is irrefutable that access to greenspace is important for health and wellbeing”. With Peterborough being one of the most deprived constituencies in England, it is clear to see how maintaining access to public greenspaces is of the utmost importance. Seeing the important work that Nene Park Trust is doing truly inspired me, and I felt as though I came away having learnt things that we can use in managing Froglife’s three reserves.
Thank you again to Nene Park Trust for taking the time to teach us some of your knowledge. I felt as though I learned a lot!”
“The day began meeting Matt, the Duty Ranger for the day and he showed us a map of the area that the Nene Park Trust managed and an overview of how tasks are assigned between the staff. We went to assist on the morning checks, which included ensuring the play areas were in good condition to prevent any unnecessary accidents. This involved checking each play item to ensure no fingers could be trapped, or falls could occur.
We drove around the park, checking trees for signs of damage or the prospect of them being a hazard to the public. We had our first encounter with Arthur, who was happily getting on with some maintenance.
We moved away from Ferry Meadows around to see some familiar territory, the rowing lakes which back on to the Boardwalks reserve that we manage. We had a conversation about how bird flu was affecting the local populations, but fortunately didn’t see any sick or injured birds. This had become part of the checks.
From there we moved to the rural estate, past Castor. The air was full of wintering Thrushes and Finches and this area had a much more open and wilder feel. This area has an interesting history and it was interesting to learn about it from Matt.
During lunch I had a lovely chat with a few of the rangers and asked them about the trust and the wildlife that can be found on the site. It was a good opportunity to learn about the differences working for a trust as opposed to a charity.
In the afternoon, we joined Alex for a volunteer session. We were using a wood crushing machine that made quite a racket. Volunteer days were well attended and it was interesting to discuss why Nene Park is likely to have a good volunteer base and how the use of social media can certainly encourage more funding. Nene Park post their volunteer hours, which is both good for recruitment and also for exposure.
The day was a very interesting one, to see the differences in resources, working styles and tasks in a trust that runs a public facing business. I found that their acquisition of land for the trust provided a good safeguard against development and allowed for projects such as the regrowth of meadows, on a wider geographical area. I have spent a lot of time at Nene Park recreationally, so it was great to see behind the scenes and speak about volunteering and potential job opportunities.”