Volunteer Officer to Reserves Officer

Nicky Hennessy, Lilbourne Meadows Reserves Officer, explains how her career with the Wildlife Trust started at the Great Fen as a Volunteer Reserves Officer

My career with Wildlife Trust BCN began as Volunteer Reserve Officer (VO) at the Great Fen - the position was fundamental to my professional development. Previously, I was a reserve warden on a 10-month internship in North Wales, which gave amazing opportunities to manage local nature reserves predominantly consisting of urban woodland.

I totally love it!

Returning to Cambridgeshire, I was wanting greater experience in wetland and grassland management. The Great Fen was perfect: as Volunteer Reserve Officer I got to be part of a phenomenal and forward thinking wetland restoration collaborative. I learned to drive tractors, fix bird hides, re-fit gateposts and learnt new monitoring techniques such as fixed point photography and water quality testing. The team gave me a real sense of belonging and achievement; all were supportive, knowledgeable and generous with biscuits and ice-cream, for which I will always be grateful. The same fabulous team encouraged me to take a part-time salaried position as a summer reserve warden on Barnack Hills and Holes Nature Reserve.

In turn this led to my current position as Lilbourne Meadows Reserve Officer, with the Northants team: part of an exciting project establishing a new nature reserve, assisting with the management of other reserves in the county, and  gaining new insights and experiences in livestock grazing. Every day is an opportunity to develop my infrastructure maintenance and habitat management skills and experiences, and I totally love it!