A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A UK NATIONAL PARK RANGER
Once bird nesting season is over in autumn/winter, we start doing some of the more intense habitat management, such as scrub clearance and tree felling. Spring - which is personally my favourite season - is when we’ll get surveys done. This year my team worked on nightingale and lapwing surveys. They’re both in serious decline and we’re trying to figure out what the issues are and how we can help them.
One of the best moments so far this year was when a colleague and I were doing a survey. We were feeling a bit down because we hadn’t spotted any nightingales and then I spotted a juvenile white-tailed eagle. There’d been a reintroduction programme for them on the Isle of Wight and they’d been spotted around the wetland area we were surveying, but I still couldn’t believe my eyes. I also have a real passion for birds and have loved them since I was very young.
It’s important to have good communication skills too and nursing really helped provide me with those. Usually when you get complaints from members of the public, you have to come from a place of empathy to really understand where they’re coming from. It’s a lot more productive to have a conversation, rather than an argument.
When I get home, I have a little 10–15-minute wind down routine. I’ll immediately take off my hot, heavy work boots and go barefoot out into the garden with a glass of squash, where I’ll watch the bees buzzing around the flowers. I just love being outside and although I now work in nature, I don’t always get the time to sit back and watch. You can learn so much that way though.