By Alec Thomson
Brighton Youth Ranger
I love animals and nature. I already volunteer at a zoo and did some work experience at a natural history museum. It is difficult for me to go out otherwise as I need someone to accompany me so I don’t get to explore outside much. Also many groups and clubs for people my age aren’t suitable for me like discos or sports or ‘social’ events.
Finding Youth Rangers was really great. What I like is that Huw is so friendly, and also he even brings us doughnuts or cooks up some sausages. The group is quite small so I don’t feel overwhelmed, and we do something different every week. You get to see parts of your local area – for me in Brighton – that you wouldn’t normally see.
We did so much over just this summer, including a nature count in St. Peter’s Church grounds, a seaside rock pooling and litter grab, finding out about natural history at Woods Mill, clearing and planting at The Deneway, and also at Stanmer Park, working in the wildlife garden in Queen’s Park and walking along Castle Hill.
It’s a pity I can’t go now that I am back at College at the days clash with my studies, but I will be sure to go back again in the holidays. It feels good to be outside and also that you are doing something useful to help.
This also helps me develop some skills that I can maybe use in the future. In fact, I have now applied for and been offered some additional gardening work at the zoo where I volunteer so I am a bit more confident that I may be able to do this after my experience with Youth Rangers.
Huw also lets us know about any training opportunities like with the South Downs National Park or hedging at Charleston or courses at Plumpton. It makes me feel like there are things out there for me and that I can be part of something.