By Thomas Simpson
People and Wildlife Officer
Craig Ifield aged 19 from Worthing, joined Wild About Worthing’s Youth Rangers six months ago on the recommendation of a teacher. Looking to start a career in sustainable energy production but uncertain where to gain relevant experience, Craig has since converted to nature conservation.
This is what Craig had to say about his experience.
I began volunteering with the Wild About Worthing project’s Youth Rangers on suggestion of my Environmental SciencesTeacher, having had a personal interest in Sustainable energy production. From then on I have decided to peruse a career in the great outdoors as a countryside ranger, continuing to do similar work that I have done here with this project.
I have worked on a range of different tasks within the local area, including work in three different schools. We have repaired and weeded school ponds and carried out landscaping work to encourage the ever growing interest in forest schools.
I have learnt new skills and had the opportunity to refresh and expand my knowledge of wildlife identification. While working with Wild About Worthing I have learnt how to lay a hedge, make hazel hurdle fencing, start fires by friction, safely cut down trees and build bug hotels. I have used an assortment of unusual tools that I hadn’t heard of before including bill hooks and palm drills and I have even learned how to make a wooden reindeer.
For me the most enjoyable part of being a Youth Ranger has been gaining an understanding of why we are doing what we are doing and the sense of giving back to the community and habitats of Worthing.
I have loved working as a Youth Ranger with the Sussex Wildlife Trust. It has allowed me to find my footing in career terms, work alongside a great mixture of people and taught me skills that I would never have had the opportunity to learn without this project. It has been a truly great experience, something out of the ordinary for those who love the great outdoors. Being part of the Youth Rangers has shaped my outlook on a career and I now feel I have a firm grasp on what it is that I want to do in the future.
Update: Thanks to a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Craig was able to gain skills and experience in his local area. Since joining Wild About Worthing, Craig has expanded his volunteer experience by joining the Youth Rangers in Brighton and helping to run drop in events. He has now applied to become a volunteer officer with TCV and we hope he will continue to volunteer with us when he can. His hard work, enthusiasm and initiative have been invaluable throughout his time here.