What does your role involve?
Volunteer Rangers do a wide variety of tasks most of which are aimed at making sure visitors enjoy the forest and all that it has to offer. These duties range from engaging with the public to preparing areas and events for their information and enjoyment. We are also involved in a wide variety of conservation tasks to help with wildlife management. Roger Tutt (Volunteering since 2009)
Describe a typical day?
I am not sure if a “typical day” exists. Most duty days will start by packing some lunch and a drink, as we are usually out and about all day.
If I am involved in a conservation event, I will drive to the site for 10am which could be "off the beaten track" or in a part of the forest that I'm not familiar with. Most tasks finish around 3 pm with a coffee and lunch break in between. If I'm leading the event, I will drive to The Queens House, check that the van has everything needed for the day and then drive to the site. If the task involves a bonfire, we will often stay behind after the main group has left to ensure that the area is safe and then return the van.
When helping out at Bolderwood or the New Forest Reptile Centre we meet up with our colleagues, make sure that the site is ready for visitors and spend most of the day chatting with the public and keeping the site tidy.
If it's a patrol, we work in twos and pick up the Ranger van from The Queens House, Lyndhurst and meet up with the Rangers who will give us the tasks for the day. Trevor Bumfrey (Volunteering since 2011)
Why did you decide to volunteer for the Forestry Commission?
I love living in the Forest and being a Volunteer Ranger is the icing on the cake. All the volunteers are interesting people, so a duty day is always a friendly and stimulating day outdoors not forgetting the added bonus of chocolate treats!. I enjoy the variety, from Two Trees conservation tasks to patrols to joining the NPA information unit at the pony sales. The FC staff are so knowledgeable and happy to impart that knowledge, and as a result I am continuously learning. My eyes have been opened to conservation work to woodland rides for butterflies, goshawks, all the reptiles of the forest, ground nesting birds, cycle routes interfering with pony drifts, cows that can walk over cattle grids, litter and pigs that steal packed lunches! I think it is a privilege to wear the uniform. Lynne Truell (Volunteering since 2012)
What is the best bit about being a VR?
I love the wide variety of duties that the role provides plus the opportunity to discover parts of the Forest that I never knew existed. Since becoming a Volunteer Ranger I have learnt so much more than I already knew about the area through contact with the Forest professionals. As VRs we are regarded as an integral part of the Forestry Commission team and our contribution is really appreciated by them. Derek Tippetts (Volunteering since 2009)
What words of wisdom would you offer to anyone thinking about becoming a Volunteer Ranger?
Always expect the unexpected and keep smiling! Jackie Paulson (Volunteering since 2007)