Residential Volunteer - Long term placement – Trainee Visitor Experience Warden - Mersehead

Monday 16 December 2019
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation, Residential volunteering

What we're looking for

We are looking for an enthusiastic and committed residential volunteer to join our team. Do you want to make a difference to conservation in Scotland? Would you like to inspire and amaze people with the fantastic wildlife we have right here in Dumfries and Galloway? We are looking for a Trainee Visitor Experience Warden to help staff on the reserve and in the local area. You will be supporting the Dumfries & Galloway team by inspiring the public with amazing stories and wildlife, helping with fun family activities, encouraging people to Give Nature a Home themselves and help to further support the charity. You will be expected to help deliver the visitor experience as well as assist in the running of our events programme. We run activities for children and families, as well as special events for adults, and your help in planning and delivering these will be encouraged. In the visitor centre and at events, you will inspire the public through face to face engagement and create wider interpretation on the reserve. In so doing, you'll gain a practical experience in environmental education, people engagement and event management. You will also help us to deliver our work plan, to improve and maintain visitor infrastructure (e.g. paths, hides, viewing areas, information points). During your time here, you will also be expected to assist with various wildlife surveys on the reserve, helping us collect data on species such as farmland birds, butterflies and the UK's rarest amphibian, the natterjack toad.

The skills you need

You will be a friendly and outgoing person who is confident initiating conversations with the public. Good people and communication skills and an approachable personality are essential for this role. You must be confident talking to visitors. We are looking for someone who is self-reliant and able to get on with the task at hand. You may be required to work on your own for short periods of time and be able to work as part of a small team. You will also be adaptable, self-motivated and ready to turn your hand to the plethora of different tasks required in this role (from engaging visitors and running events to doing path-work and creating interpretation). Specialist knowledge in gardening, construction or design is useful but not necessary. An interest in conservation and wildlife will be essential. Some knowledge of UK wildlife species would be useful, but you don't need to be an expert. You will frequently be required to work weekends, but on these occasions, time off will be given during the week. You must be aged 18 or over and hold a full driving licence, as you may be required to drive the reserve's vehicles. An ability to use computers/software and to handle small amounts of petty cash will be required. Previous people engagement experience would be beneficial but not essential.

Your time

21 weeks (5-day working weeks, including some weekends)
April 2020 - August 2020
April 2020 - August 2020



Application form (PDF)
To be completed and returned to us before a booking can be made

Brochure about residential volunteering (PDF)
Find out more about residential volunteering on this, and our other reserves within this scheme. Also included are answers to the most frequently asked questions

What's in it for you?

Get involved in a variety of events, whether it be fun games and wildlife challenges to connect children and their families to nature or showing adults wildlife on the reserve and showcasing the story of what we are doing to help it. Learn all about the RSPB - who we are, what we have done and why. As Europe's largest conservation charity this could be a great way to start your conservation career. Not only will you get experience in working with all sorts of people but there will be opportunity to participate in and learn about wildlife surveys too, helping develop your ecological or naturalist skills. Involvement in these can provide real insight into nature and consequently enhance your understanding for interpretation. A perfect role for a budding ranger or environmental advisor! You will be living in our converted farmhouse in the heart of the reserve, becoming fully immersed in the life of RSPB Mersehead. There are stunning views and wildlife experiences literally on your doorstep!

How to apply


Jane Shah, UKHQ Volunteering Development Department
Tel: 01767 680551


This is a remote site so your own transport would be advantageous. Appropriate training will be provided and pre-arranged expenses will be reimbursed where necessary. Mersehead is a stunning example of wetland habitat restoration, set against the spectacular backdrop of the Solway Firth and surrounding hills. The reserve boasts a wide variety of habitats including wet grassland, reedbed, farmland, saltmarsh, sand dunes and intertidal sand and mudflats. The RSPB is the UK charity working to secure a healthy environment for birds and wildlife, helping to create a better world for all of us. We belong to Birdlife International, the global partnership of bird conservation organizations. Your time and skills could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB and saving nature.

Reference number 3780