Northumberland National Park is calling on conservation-minded youngsters with a passion for nature to come and experience life as a National Park Ranger.
Northumberland National Park’s highly successful Young Volunteer Ranger programme is now in its fifth year. It is ideal for anyone aged 16 to 25 with an interest in pursuing a career in the environmental or countryside sectors.
Successful applicants will work alongside National Park staff as part of its Ranger Team to get actively involved in the care and management of the Park, including its sites, woodlands and nature reserves.
Jane Riddell, Northumberland National Park Ranger, explains: “The Volunteer Ranger placement programme is a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on and experience the work of our National Park Rangers and specialist teams.
“It’s designed to give young people a unique learning opportunity where they can gain practical experience and pick up a range of different skills connected to conserving and managing the natural environment.
“We believe that young people should have the opportunity to explore and enjoy learning by utilising the National Park to deliver education through real-life examples which inform and inspire.
“Everyone who takes part will get a great understanding of protected areas, landscapes, species and the important role of Northumberland National Park in land management and conservation. We hope that by offering this experience it will inspire the next generation of landscape enthusiasts.”
Young Volunteer Ranger placements aim to develop on the job skills through a variety of practical tasks including maintenance work on historic buildings and public rights of way to workshop days, biodiversity studies and working with the National Park Authority’s Ecologist, Archaeologist, Farming Team and Access Officer.
Anna Robe, a student at Newcastle University studying Countryside Management took part in the scheme in 2016. She said: “This placement was a fantastic opportunity for me as it allowed me to gain vital work experience. I worked with some amazing people who taught me new skills and knowledge in different aspects of their vision to create a rich, thriving, biodiverse working landscape.”
Ed Harrison also took part in the Young Volunteer Ranger scheme, he said: “This experience really ignited my interest in conservation. Since then, I have made it my goal to one day work as either a Ranger or in a similar job. I was made more aware of the cultural and historic importance of the Park, and what I can do to conserve it.
“I regularly use the Park for running, hiking and walking my dogs, and I have lived either within or near to it my entire life – it is therefore important to me that it continues to exist for both myself and future generations.”
The spring placements are a 10 day commitment between April and June 2017. The scheme also gives participants the opportunity to achieve their John Muir Explorer Award.
Northumberland National Park’s Young Volunteer Ranger programme is part of a comprehensive programme of interpretation, educational and participatory activities now taking place throughout the Park and connected to The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed.
When it opens this summer, The Sill will provide an all-weather facility that promises to be much more than a visitor destination. It will offer year-round facilities, events, exhibitions and activities including landscape education and training programmes designed to open up the landscapes of Northumberland National Park to a broad range of new people.
The £14.8 million project, which has been partially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), will enable people of all ages and circumstances to explore and enjoy the landscapes, history and culture of Northumberland.
The closing date for Young Volunteer Ranger programme applications is 12 noon on Monday 6 February 2017.