New Forest National Park Intern: My Time at The New Forest National Park Authority So FarPUBLISHED ON: 15 MAY 2023
Hi, I’m Josh and I’m the first National Park Intern at the New Forest NPA.
I’ve always loved nature, ever since I was a kid. We would spend hours walking in the Forest, collecting rocks, jumping in puddles and learning about the plants and animals.
As I got older, my love of nature and the environment grew with me, and I found myself looking for careers within this field.
When I applied for the job at the New Forest National Park Authority, I had just finished Sixth Form college and been thrown into the world of adulthood. I had no idea where I was going, I just knew that I wanted to do something to help the environment.
I have always been passionate about nature and the places in which we live but often take for granted. When I went to college I studied Environmental Science, Geology and Law at A level, and that really grew my passion for finding ways to protect the environment.
Since joining the NPA I’ve been surrounded by groups of great people who are fun to work with and really care about the work that they do. It feels like no matter what team you’re in, you really have a purpose, and all strive to better the National Park. There aren’t many opportunities for young people to get into a green career like this, so I’m really grateful to have found this position.
I’ve had some great opportunities and gained some valuable hands-on experience. For example, working with the ranger team to monitor ground nesting birds and spreading the word about how best to use the Forest. Interacting with the public has helped me build confidence when talking to new people and makes me feel like I am creating the change we want to see in the New Forest.
I’ve also spent time with the education and youth team, helping to inform the younger generation about how to use the Forest respectfully and about all the wonderful wildlife we have here. Sparking interest in the new generation of nature lovers!
This role has been very varied giving me a wide range of experience including working with the planning and conservation team, learning about the ways in which heritage sites and the natural beauty of the New Forest is preserved, along with how they make sure that special areas of conservation are protected from developments.
In the future, I’m going to be working with the communications team, helping to gather stories from locals and tourists about what nature means to them so we can continue to raise awareness and encourage people to enjoy the National Park that we’re so lucky to have on our doorstep.
The team at the NPA is great to work with and has been super supportive. They’ve not only assisted me with any work I have struggled with, helping me to develop my skills, but they have even supported me in working towards my personal goals too, giving me study leave and flexible hours while I complete some exams that I had been previously working towards. I’ve only spent three weeks here so far, but I already feel like my skills and ability to deal with new problems have developed and will continue to develop throughout my placement.
I knew that I’d enjoy the conservation side of the role, but one thing that surprised me is how much I enjoy the work in planning and enforcement. Learning about how the National Park Authority works, the rules that are in place to protect the Forest and how they are implemented has given me an insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
I’d highly recommend getting into a green career. It really feels great to know that the work you do, no matter how tiny the task, makes a huge difference to areas like the New Forest.
The National Park Internship has been funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund via the New to Nature programme – an exciting initiative that is helping to support people from diverse backgrounds into environmental roles. New to Nature is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players.