Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Work experience at Cley

Oscar Conway

I applied to Cley Marshes work experience week because I felt it would give me the perfect opportunity to know what it is like to work around nature and on a reserve. Seeing as this is what I would prefer to do later in my life, a week of interesting and inspiring activities ‘woke me up’ to the great work environment and range of tasks and jobs needed to run a reserve.

After arriving and being introduced to the site, team and common wildlife found on the reserve, I helped out with a school visit. This involved myself and other volunteers explaining the conservation work going on at Cley and other Norfolk areas to the children. I helped out with the activities they participated in, like pond dipping and beach exploration.  This gave me a chance to improve my confidence for interacting with people of various ages as the school group consisted of different age groups.

As well as this, the activities also allowed me to be out on the reserve where I could also enjoy my passion for nature and wildlife spotting. Species I observed at Cley included: spoonbill, bearded tit, dunlin and many more. I managed to fit in lots of time to observe birds and wildlife between my time working. This might have been on the till with a few other volunteers to answer people's questions, give tickets out to reserve members and first-timers and deal with purchases made by visitors in the visitor centre. This was extremely enjoyable because of the satisfaction from helping people and because it was generally fun to use the till.

Other tasks I really enjoyed at Cley were the mornings out on the reserve with the warden and volunteers where I helped put up signs, collect grass-cutting equipment from the storage facility and clean different areas of the reserve. It was great to experience the ‘hands-on’ side of looking after Cley and nature as a whole. One of the vital needs for running a nature reserve and visitor centre is a brilliant and friendly team and this was certainly the case at Cley.

Overall, the week on the reserve was a fantastic experience, it was both useful for learning new skills and highly enjoyable throughout. 

We are fortunate to be able to offer work experience at Cley where we have a Community Education Officer, unfortunately we are not able to offer work experience weeks at our other reserves.  If you are interested in a career connected to conservation and would like to do your work experience at Cley please see our website for more information and an application form (scroll down to the green feature box).

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