Apprentice Ranger Alistair Poxon – Q&A
Name: Alistair Poxon Organisation: New Forest National Park Authority
Job Role: Apprentice Ranger
Why are our green (and blue) spaces important to you and did that influence your decision to apply for this role?
The UK has such a wide range of natural landscapes, each with their own unique biological, cultural, and historical significance. As well as making the UK a wonderful and fascinating place to live, these places are crucial for our mental and physical wellbeing. Sadly, there has been a steady decline in the coverage and quality of these spaces, which has led to devastating losses in wildlife and a gradual and unhealthy disconnection between people and the land. With all this in mind, I was certain that I wanted to follow a career in conservation to ensure that many generations to come can continue to nurture and enjoy the stunning British countryside. An apprenticeship as a New Forest ranger offered this opportunity, and also presented the chance to work in one of the most ecologically interesting areas in Europe.
What were you doing before?
I was studying for a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Warwick.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of the project or get out of the role personally?
I’d like to help contribute towards the protection and revival of the New Forest through learning about the intricate and fragile ecosystems that exist within it. I’d also like to develop the skills that would enable me to help others act in a way that is more sustainable and caring towards the planet.
If people take away just one fact about the New Forest, what would you like that to be?
The New Forest has the most extensive area of heathland remaining in Europe! I found this surprising, as the national park is relatively small. I think this goes to show how crucial it is that we care for these places, as well as enjoy them.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into a green job?
Regularly check green-job specific websites (Countryside Jobs Service is good) and apply for as many as you can. Don’t be disheartened by rejections, as you’ll find a job eventually and it’ll all be worth it. Volunteer with green organisations, it’s fun, fulfilling, and is a great way into a career.
You’re going for a day out in the Forest, what must-haves are in your bag?
A map, plenty of water, and a hearty lunch.