Ask the Ranger event - find out more about becoming a ranger in a Facebook live event on POSTPONED, new date to follow.

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; Kate working mainly with heathland and woodland; Angela covers the Western side of the Walden Heath along with Kate; Charles covers a wide area working with a range of partner organisations; Abbi started out as an illustrator but soon realised that being an Assistant Ranger suits her much better.  Assistant Ranger Micky will be around but isn't taking part in the session (someone has to keep an eye on the office).  

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 18 November at 12.30pm, 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 defense 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.

-          Abbi came into conservation via the long winding path, having previously trained as an Illustrator at university. After realising that freelancing wasn’t the right choice for me and yearning to spend more time outdoors, in the natural world which she loved to draw, she started by volunteering with the Rangers Service in Sheffield. Squeezing it in just once a fortnight, alongside her three part time jobs. She then found an opportunity as a Seasonal Gardener, in the parks department at Sheffield City Council. After completing her first paid job in the environmental sector, she relocated with her family to Northumberland, and began working as a Grounds Person assisting a Tree Surgeon. She decided that to further her career change, she wanted to gain a qualification, so she studied for a Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management and Conservation in Durham. Alongside her course, she did a season as an Assistant Surveyor for E3 Ecology, where they conducted Newt and Bat surveys. After graduating and completing the survey season, She applied for jobs in the Environmental and Conservation sectors all over the UK. She had an interview in Inverness, and in the South Downs in the same week. Fortunately, the road trips paid off and she was offered the role of Assistant Ranger at the South Downs National Park, where she currently works.

-          Micky is another assistant ranger she came into the organisation through cultural history and although not taking part in the session she will be there on the day, so if there are any questions relating to history and stuff before the event, then you can send those over and she can prepare some answers.