I started volunteering with the countryside partnerships just before my 21st birthday. I decided to take a placement year which is a great way to gain experience within an industry you would like to join before completing your studies. I chose to volunteer to help my local environment and to gain practical outdoor experience within countryside management, which cannot be learnt in a lecture hall.
As part of my volunteering; I helped reduce the number of invasive species taking over our countryside, I was involved in species surveying which monitors the state of local biodiversity and raised local community awareness of our native wildlife and measures to preserve it at events.
Volunteering with the countryside partnerships exceeded all my expectations, offering a wide range of conservation and community tasks. I received a great sense of satisfaction seeing the impact my efforts and volunteering in general made to our local environment. I also gained confidence and insight into the industry.
I never dreamed I would have got the opportunity to survey and hold Barn Owls and Dormice and to work with a group of passionate people who truly care about their local environment.
When studying Geography, a diverse degree I was unsure of the career path to take but volunteering in conservation changed how I viewed my studies, showed me what I wanted to do for a career and in the long run gave me the experience enabling me to get my dream job.
Now I work for the countryside partnerships and lead my own volunteer team which are invaluable to delivering my projects and make a real difference to the local countryside.
If you would like to give volunteering a try, please get in contact with your local Kent Countryside Partnership.