Ask the Ranger event - find out more about becoming a ranger in a Facebook live event on 16 August

The South Downs National Park Ranger Team have volunteered themselves for an Ask the Ranger session, a kind of countryside staff AMA.

They will be talking about their experiences of entering the world of conservation and what their paths to employment look like (all very different!). They will also give some top tips on getting a job in conservation and explain a little about what being a ranger for the SDNPA looks like. They say: "We are happy to answer any questions people may have, although we probably won’t be able to give people specific advice on a case-by-case basis."

The team taking part is made up of: Dan, the lead ranger for the Wealden Heath area – not available on the day but open to questions beforehand; Kate working mainly with heathland and woodland; Angela who covers the Western side of the Walden Heath along with Kate; Charles covers a wide area working with a range of partner organisations. Gemma is the newest recruit who joins the team from a career in admin. 

You can submit questions in advance to - you'll get more of a full answer if you do this - or on the day in response to subjects discussed.

The Session will be on our Facebook page on 16 August at 2pm, it will probably last around an hour - perhaps longer if you've got a mountain of questions for them!  

Introducing the Rangers:

-          Dan is the Lead Ranger for the Wealden Heath area.  His responsibilities are to manage a team of rangers within the area and their delivery of National Park Purposes. He also leads on the Dark Skies work for the authority and aspects of sustainability monitoring.  Dan originally graduated as Physicist from Surrey and had a career that began in climate research and then defence engineering on a number of military platforms.  Deciding to change career, Dan attained two more degrees in wildlife management and environmental policy, and importantly, started volunteering with the South Downs AONB.  Since then Dan has worked his way up from volunteer coordinator, ranger, to team leader and now sits as the chair for national and international dark sky organisations.

-          Kate is a Ranger, mainly working on heathland and woodland within the South Downs National park. Her work includes advising landowners, working in partnership with other organisations/projects/landowners, holding events and talks, conducting practical work and surveys along with leading volunteer tasks, organising contractors and helping to deliver the SDNPAs purposes collaboratively with other members of staff. Kate joined the authority as an assistant ranger and progressed to a ranger role after 1.5yrs. Before that she studied Ecology at University and completed a 9-month internship with the RSPB, as well as volunteering with several other organisations.

-          Charles is a Ranger for the South Downs National Park Authority. This involves working with a wide range of partners – from farmers and Parish Councils, to large land-owning estates and other conservation organisations, like the RSPB and the National Trust – to help conserve and enhance the landscape of the South Downs. In practical terms this might involve leading groups of conservation volunteers to clear invasive scrub from a heathland, organising a project to re-wild a stretch of river channel, or installing livestock fencing to enable conservation grazing – amongst other things. Having always been passionate about the environment, Charles has worked outdoors on his parents livestock farm from a young age. He studied Geography at undergraduate and Biodiversity, Conservation & Management at MSc, both at the University of Oxford. Since then he has volunteered for various conservation organisations, such as the TCV and Butterfly Conservation, and has worked in various roles abroad – including undertaking climate change research & field work at QUT in Australia, analysing environmental policy for IUCN in Brussels, and involving underprivileged people in urban agriculture in Georgia, USA. Before joining the South Downs National Park Charles was working for a neighbouring protected landscape, the High Weald AONB.

-          Angela is a Ranger who covers the Western side of the Wealden Heaths area along with Kate. Angela’s main responsibilities cover the areas of land which are not Heathland, including the River Rother catchment, Woodland, Invasive Non-native Species, Barn Owls to name just a few.  Angela began her career in finance, having left school at 16 to work for a high street bank and then on to private finance companies. In her mid-20s she had some good careers advice and retrained, attending college, then University to study Rural Resource Management. Practical experience was gained over a number of years with work experience and volunteering which lead to being employed by the predecessor of the South Downs National Park and has been a Ranger for 19 years.

- Gemma is a relatively new addition to the team. She worked in admin for 12 years, 5 and a half of those with the National Park. Working with the NP made her quickly realise she wanted to become a Ranger, and so she undertook a career change and went through the Park’s Apprenticeship programme to become an Assistant Ranger.