How did I end up here? I took the usual route to conservation work – studied guitar building, went travelling, lived in the Netherlands for a few years working less-than-glamorous jobs, spent almost a decade in retail, and then started volunteering after hitting 30 and figuring out what I wanted to do in life!
I have volunteered for around 2 years across sites in Wigan, Salford and Manchester with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, City of Trees and TCV. As I have not had any formal education in environment related subjects, I have completed several AQA units while volunteering to further my conservation knowledge.
I have gone from knowing nothing about mosslands to becoming Vice Chair of the Friends of Chat Moss group. Prior to getting the traineeship, I had a voluntary work placement at the Bolton LWT office with the mosslands team which gave me valuable experience of day-to-day conservation work.
Being outside and making noticeable improvements to natural habitats has been extremely rewarding and given me a definite direction to go in life. Spending time getting to know wildlife has been much less stressful than spending time in a shop!
While I’ll still be getting muddy as often as possible, I’m also looking forward to the opportunity that the traineeship gives me to get a greater understanding of the planning stages of restoration works and exploring the new Carbon Trails.