Celebrating Female Rangers in Kent

Images of female ranger

25th June 2024

This week is Female Ranger Week, a campaign dedicated to showcasing the incredible contributions of female Rangers across the world.

In Kent we have some amazing female rangers protecting our Kent wildlife and teaching others to love and protect it for future generations. We met up with some of them to celebrate the impact they are having in what can sometimes be viewed as a male dominated role.

Nina Jones,a Protected Area Warden for the Kent Wildlife Trust, has recently been nominated in the Green Category of the BBC Radio Kent Make a Difference Awards for her outstanding work. Nina works at Sandwich and Pegwell Bay, one of Kent Wildlife Trust’s largest national nature reserves and one of their key coastal sites. She describes it as a complex mix of habitats that serve as a safe haven for wildlife. Nina shared “I got into this field because I love being outside, and much prefer working outdoors than being in an office. I also have a real passion for connecting people with nature on a deeper level in the hope that will help them to develop an innate respect for wildlife and natural spaces when they visit the countryside or the coast. I think that’s the first step we need to take in order to encourage people to prioritise the environment and the natural landscape around them in their daily lives.”

Kate Wells, an Education Ranger at Brockhill Country Park, shared her journey. “I’ve just always been really passionate about the outdoors and protection & conservation and just enhancing the natural wildlife…just being outside really, and with the education to inspire the younger generation and getting them into nature and why it is important to protect it”. When asked what she loves most about her job, Kate said “Just being outside, every day is something new and different, it’s never the same thing, And just being around the children and seeing their little faces get very excited about the natural world”. Her advice for girls aspiring to become Rangers is “You can get into that range of work, just believe that you can do it and don’t take no for an answer, and show that you can. I think just trust in your own ability and be confident”.

Hannah Gilham is the Head Ranger at Leybourne Lakes Country Park. Reflecting on her journey she shared I always toyed between geography and biology at school until I found this niche. Being outside, giving back and educating the younger generations mean everything to me. I love the diversity of my role; even now as I have stepped up into the Country Park Manager role from Ranger I still find that every day is different. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have a wholly bad day if you’ve been outside, and I don’t feel like I’ve ever had ‘a bad day at work’.”

Coco is a Countryside Ranger for Kent Country Parks. She chose this career because of her love for the outdoors and her desire for a hands-on, practical job with daily variety. Coco has been a Ranger for 3 years now and says there’s so much she loves about the job. She says you’re always being inspired, you’re learning something new every day, and you’re just always active, you’re always socialising with lots of different people”. When asked what advice she would give other females looking to work in this field she says “It doesn’t matter who you are, you should be aspiring to do something you really love in life. Maybe females are underrepresented in these more physical roles…when you’re doing a physical job you may sometimes get the odd comment from the public or you will get a look when you tell family what sort of role you’re in, but it doesn’t matter. In this industry anyone is capable, as long as you love it and you’re inspired to do it then just go for it!”  

Many female rangers start off in other industries as we found with Ella and Susan.

Ella Austin works as a Education Ranger at Brockhill Country Park. She transitioned into this role from a background in events management. Reflecting on her career shift, she shares “I think once you start working outside it’s a really hard thing to give up, it’s really addictive”. When asked what she loves about her job Ella “I think being outside, getting to work with so many different people, I love the variety of the work and just how connected to nature you are…”

Susan Harison, an Assistant Ranger at Trosley Country Park, shows that it is possible to retrain as Ranger if this is something you are passionate about. She says “During Covid I worked at Shorne Woods Country Park in the customer service side. I helped out with the ranger team as there were no events or room hire to do. I enjoyed it so much I retrained after most of my life in customer service”. She advises those who also wish to get into this field to consider volunteering “Volunteering looks great on a CV and is a good test to see if you would enjoy the job…”

It is clear that being a Ranger offers a diverse and rewarding career, filled with opportunities to make a real difference.

Find out more: 

Keep an eye on our social media channels this week where you will hear from our Kent Rangers throughout the week. Have you been inspired to join these amazing female Rangers? Why not look into getting some experience with volunteering. Opportunities include:

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