Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve Warden
The Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve (FFNR) is already a very popular destination for bird watchers, dog walkers and other visitors and offers a very different experience to many of our other parks, with a more rural feel, abundant birdlife and rapidly changing water levels.
We see this site as a flagship nature reserve and a shining example of excellent habitat creation. The former quarry area holds lots of wildlife throughout the year with hundreds of ducks and other waterfowl through the winter months and a variety of wading birds and passerines through the spring and summer months, not to mention otters, owls, egrets, kingfishers, cuckoos, bats, grass snakes and possibly water voles.
We have a need for a greater, uniformed presence at the site than we currently do to help deter the current issues such as:
- Persistent vandalism and other anti-social behaviour associated with the three bird hides.
- Dogs being let off the lead causing disturbance to birds and potentially other wildlife
We also need people to check on the grazing stock and engage with the public who may be unused to seeing large animals on site.
Responsibilities of Volunteer Wardens
An extension of our Volunteer Park Rangers and stock watchers, this role is very much aimed at public engagement with visitors and regular users to the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve. We would expect our Volunteer Wardens to be based at various entry points to Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve: Haversham Road car park, Manor Farm Court and the western entrance point from Iron Trunk Meadow and walk around the site. Volunteer Wardens would not be expected to work alone and would volunteer in pairs or more on site at any given time.
Given the amount of time Parks Trust staff will invest in inducting our volunteer wardens, we ask that they each contribute a minimum of one half day per week.
Ideally, these volunteers will be dog owners or at least ‘dog friendly’ and able to talk to dog owners in a warm and friendly manner, whether or not they are observing the ‘Dogs on Leads’ policy. Volunteer Wardens will be supplied with dog leaflets, doggy treats and poo bags to distribute to visitors. We would like to recruit volunteers who are comfortable with approaching members of the public whose dogs are off the lead and training will be provided for public engagement.
- Check all of the bird hides, or the nearest bird hide to their station, to ensure that it is clean and that there has been no recent damage.
- A patrol or walk around the site
- We will also want our volunteers to do visual checks of our Konik ponies, using binoculars if necessary. They will only be expected to ensure that all of the horses are present and to note any signs of illness or discomfort, such as limping or excessive lethargy.
If volunteers show a particular interest in the wildlife of the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve then they may also be able to update a ‘What’s About’ notice positioned in or near the Farm Hide, but this would not be essential (Bird watchers are likely to tell them of any rarities they have seen).
In an ideal world, we would have volunteers on site throughout the year during daylight hours. However, realistically, it would take us a huge amount of time and effort to build up that sort of coverage. Times to prioritise warden presence would be as follows:
- Immediately before and after the introduction of livestock. Particularly important to avoid contact between horses and dogs.
- During the key breeding season for wading birds and summer visitors (April – July)
- If and when we are aware of any rare species nesting or suspected nesting on site, when we can expect much greater numbers of visiting bird watchers (e.g. black winged stilts in 2016).
Our wardens would need to report issues as and when they arise to the Area Community Ranger, Duty Community Ranger or Biodiversity Officer. They will need to be issued with contact numbers and email for each of these staff members.
To register your interest please complete our online form