Residential on Reserve (More than 4 weeks) (Long term residential volunteer-wardening team)

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Volunteer role: Long term residential volunteer 2024

Volunteer manager: Assistant Warden

Where will you be based: RSPB Loch Leven

When? We are looking for someone to start in early 2024 to work with us through the winter habitat management and estate work and to play a big part in our breeding season surveys during the spring and summer. After the breeding season we will continue on with habitat and estate work. The role will continue until the end of Autumn, covering a period of nine months.

Why we want you? Our internship volunteering roles cover a wide variety of RSPB work and specialisms. From practical conservation, to communications, to advocacy and ecology. We have created internship opportunities so we can help people gain the skills and experience needed to start a career in conservation, and it means we get to work with brilliant people who are helping save more nature. Interns bring in a variety of ideas, experiences, and energy into our teams, it's so much more than just getting work done; we want to hear from you if you feel like you have the motivation and passion to save nature.

What will you be doing? This nine month placement will take place across the three Tayside reserves, Loch Leven, Loch of Kinnordy and the Tay Reedbeds with the majority of time based at Loch Leven. For the duration of this placement, you will become a full-time member of our team and will have the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of working on a nature reserve. You will work alongside the reserves wardening team and practical volunteers to achieve our goals of managing the various habitats for wildlife, with a big focus on wet grassland management for Lapwing. You will also play a big part in looking after our estate by assisting with fencing and infrastructure checks, monthly monitoring and working with our great team of volunteers.

During the breeding season from April to July you will assist us fully with our various suite of surveys across all three reserves which vary from wildfowl, wader, invertebrates, wildflowers, and BBS at Loch Leven and Kinnordy, plus Bearded tit surveys at the Tay reed beds. On top of this you will become our Lapwing nest monitor at Loch Leven. This involves monitoring all of our lapwing nests from the egg laying phase – all the way through to hatching and fledging stage. The main goals of this are to look at our levels of productivity, predation pressures and habitat and nesting preferences in order to continue our long running data set but also to inform our management and measures in the future. Later in the summer we will also carry out surveys for Beaver at our Kinnordy reserve.

As summer comes to and end there will be lots of habitat and estate management to carry out again before the return of the Pink footed Geese in September. An example of some of the work that you will be assisting with include.

• Habitat work – brush cutting islands, predator fence maintenance, scrub clearance, maintaining shingle islands and rafts, INNS management and water control.

• Estate work – Fence and water trough repairs, path works, health and safety checks, hide maintenance and painting.

• Reserve monitoring – Dipwell and sward data collection, stock counts, fixed point photos, predator monitoring through camera traps.

• Surveys – WeBs (Wetland bird surveys) and Goose counts out with the breeding season. Breeding wader and wildfowl surveys, BBS, wildflower surveys, Bearded tit VP monitoring.

As a team we are open to your needs and want you to get the most out of your time here. So, although the role is based with the practical reserve team and will mainly involve practical work, surveys and some office work there will be opportunities to work with the visitor experience team if that’s something you wish to gain experience in too. You can also set your own development goals and we can help you achieve these.

The skills you need. The aim of our internships is to help build skills and to help people gain the experience necessary to help take steps towards a career, primarily in conservation. We are looking for individuals who are interested in saving nature and with the energy to learn. We are not looking for experts in conservation, or even people with lots of experience, if you are new to the sector, changing careers or looking for a new challenge, this could be for you.

Some desirable skills include:

• Basic IT skills

• Experience spending time outdoors in nature

• Communication skills

• Planning and organisational skills

• Basic wildlife ID skills

What's in it for you? This role is well suited to someone looking to change their career, or someone who is just starting out. If you want to work in nature conservation, internships are volunteering opportunities that are created around your needs as much as the needs of the RSPB. You will have a say in your own development, you can work with your line manager to develop the skills you need. You will learn all about how environmental charities work to save nature and start to figure out what area of work is most suited to you. You will be working as part of a wider team and will have the opportunity to work with lots of different people.

What’s included?

• On site accommodation in our bothy for the duration of your stay which includes utilities.

• PPE necessary for the work carried out.

• Brushcutter training

• Access to all digital learning opportunities on our iLearn module

• The opportunity to take part in ecology courses (subject to availability)

• All training and support required to complete the tasks.

Please note this is an unpaid role with a duration of nine months however it is important we have someone in place until the end of the breeding season at the minimum as the lapwing monitoring side of this role is crucial.