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It's a long way from the ocean to South Yorkshire's woods, but a 35 year old women from Wortley, near Barnsley, is treading that path to forge a new career.
Outdoor fan Susan Brown has signed up for a Forestry Commission’s shadow ranger programme which gives people the chance to gain experience of countryside work by working with full time forest staff, thereby improving their prospects of finding work in the sector.
The initiative has helped printers, teachers and others from across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to switch careers.
Susan studied at Barnsley College before going on to obtain a physics degree and then doctorate in oceanography from Edinburgh University. Her passion for the environment saw her become a self employed green wood worker and tree planter, before going on to work on an organic farm near Inverness. Now she's back on home-turf looking for another opening.
"I'm passionate about the outdoors and really want to get into ranger-type work,”
“But as always experience counts for a great deal and that’s why the shadow ranger programme is crucial. I've been working with students from Rother Valley College on scrub clearance, got involved in bushcraft and willow weaving events and helped out with green gym sessions. It's been very varied and brings home how valuable our public woodlands are, especially those near towns and cities."
Susan has been shadowing rangers in community woods like Kiveton and Dinnington, both owned by the Land Trust, but managed by the Forestry Commission, and in 1,200 acre Wharncliffe Wood, just two miles from her front door, near Sheffield.
Amy Chandler, Forestry Commission volunteer co-ordinator, added:
“The shadow ranger scheme has been a big success and many placements have gone onto to carve a new career for themselves. If you want to forge ahead and get a good grounding of experience then it's a perfect opportunity, although places are limited. ”
To find out more about the scheme contact Amy Chandler on 01623 822447, or email firstname.lastname@example.org The application deadline for the next round of recruitment is 13 May, with six and 12 month placements starting in June and November. More information at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/eastmidlandsvolunteering
Notes to Editor
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038