Meet the staff - Lederman Trainee Ranger Pip Newby

, 06 July 2024
Meet the staff - Lederman Trainee Ranger Pip Newby
Pip Newby (left) and Abi Haidemenos at Wiston

Sussex Wildlife Trust has been working in partnership with the Leysdown Conservation Trust to deliver the Vera Dalley Lederman Scholarship since 2016. Set up in memory of Dr Vera Dalley Lederman in 2012, the Trust aims to provide training, support, and experience to equip trainees with the skills required to go on and develop a career in nature conservation.

Emma Chaplin caught up with the second of our two 2024 Lederman Trainees, Pip Newby

Tell us a bit about yourself

I have lived in Sussex my whole life and much of my childhood was spent clambering around on the downs, fossil hunting, rock pooling and swimming in the sea. As an adult, I have never lost my fascination for the natural world and I have long admired the work that the Sussex Wildlife Trust does to protect the places that have given me so much over the years.

My working life over the last 15 years has been in the veterinary industry, most recently as an Emergency and Critical Care Night Nurse. I have been lucky enough to take part in volunteer veterinary projects around the world, but I have always had a special place in my heart for our native wildlife and a hankering to get out of the operating theatre and into the wild.

Why did you apply?

I have always dreamed of working in conservation and spending my working days in nature. After moving from East to West Sussex in 2020, I decided it was time to decide whether a dream was all it was. As soon as I was able, I began volunteering with a number of conservation groups and later with West Sussex County Council, and volunteering quickly became the highlight of my week. A particularly inspiring West Sussex Ranger has my eternal thanks for supporting me. She herself had retrained, and seeing first hand an example of someone who had successfully navigated a career change gave me the courage to apply for this role.

Pip on Malling Down © Roz Bassford
Pip on Malling Down © Roz Bassford

How are you finding it so far?

The last two months have been incredible. It is impossible to have a bad day! Abi and I have visited many of the reserves and are learning how these are managed, we have spent a week lambing and helping the grazing team at Wiston, we have spent many days with the incredibly knowledgeable volunteer teams clearing bracken, removing invasive plant species, repairing and replacing fencing, clearing paths (the list goes on. They are all superheroes), we have had professional training in brush-cutter use and trailer towing, set moth traps, assisted in surveying ground nesting birds and Nightjars, maintained the land around the cottage and joined the BIOSCAN project, which is studying the genetic diversity of flying insects from over 100 sites across the UK over a five-year period. Every day is different and I can honestly say I couldn't be happier.

Where are your favourite wild places in Sussex?

This is a tricky one. As I'm originally an Eastbourne girl, I will always have a soft spot for the East Sussex coast line; Seven Sisters, Birling Gap, and Holywell beach, but I am discovering new corners of Sussex all the time so my favourite changes on an almost daily basis. In the top spot at the moment are the magical Eridge Rocks, and evenings spent watching our resident Badgers are hard to beat.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

I am really looking forward to seeing how the meadows and the woodland at Leysdown and the different habitats in the nature reserves change throughout the year; and subsequently how our role in managing the sites will change seasonally. Watching the blossom and the Bluebells come and go, the meadows explode with life, and the Woodpeckers fly the nest has been such a privilege and a reminder of how quickly this year will pass. I'm trying to mentally bottle every moment.

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