The Seasonal Engagement Officer position is a dynamic and exciting role. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work as part of the education team – teaching topics I am passionate about, and seeing and learning some amazing things along the way!
Expect to fall in love with wildlife you never even knew existed – then find yourself randomly coming out with facts about the fascinating wildlife you have seen and learnt about - not only to the families you engage with, but also to family and friends.
This season, I had the opportunity to set up a moth trap in our garden and took it to an event close by. People were amazed that moths of that size/colour even existed here in the UK! Plus my dad is now a lifelong moth enthusiast and keeps asking ‘when can we borrow the moth trap again’. Introducing passion about wildlife is part of the reason I love this job so much!
This year I have ‘seen’ more butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers and wildlife on my parents land than ever before. However I doubt it’s because there is more around (although I would very much hope this to be the case), but rather I am simply noticing the wildlife around me more. I believe the more you learn about wildlife, the more you notice it, appreciate it and want to protect it. At least this is the case for me, and I hope that I have instilled this sentiment into the children and adults I have engaged with this season too.
I love the variety in this job role. No two days are the same. One day, you might be on the beach seeing the wave of fascination spread over a childs face as you tell them: "what you are holding is the fossilized remains of a creature that was swimming in the sea 80 million years ago"; the next day you could be sat in the office, cutting out (pretend) dragonfly wings whilst the owl pellets are busy baking in the education shed (which is more like Dr Who’s tardis than your average garden shed).
Teaching outdoors and helping children connect with nature is an amazing opportunity too. Research consistently shows that being outside and connecting with nature is good for our mental wellbeing – hopefully more and more people are becoming aware of this. I have noticed myself that I am never happier than when outside, going for a walk in the great outdoors. It’s a great feeling, thinking that you may have had a part to play in igniting people’s excitement about being outside in nature, and introducing awareness of the amazing wildlife that lives alongside us.
Right, I had better not say any more, or I might ruin the surprises nature has in store…