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Wild New Forest launch Young Conservationist Mentoring Scheme for 2023

Following the success of our recent Young Person’s Wildlife Camps, we are now seeking to support young conservationists in their career development through a dedicated mentoring scheme based in the New Forest National Park. The scheme will initially run from 01 March to 31 Oct 2023 and is targeted at those aged 15-25 who are considering careers in wildlife conservation and ecotourism, including those in education at college or university, or at early career stage. We have secured generous philanthropic funding which enables us to offer this scheme at no cost to participants.

The scheme is based in the spectacular New Forest National Park, which for its size is one of the most biodiverse landscapes in the UK and Europe.

Selected participants will be provided with the opportunity to engage in a wide range of exciting conservation initiatives and ecotourism activities, including a variety of ecological survey and monitoring projects on both public and private land within the National Park, and Wild New Forest guided tours. There will also be at least two dedicated activity days where all scheme participants will have the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences. All activities will be directly supervised by the Wild New Forest Directors, Russell Wynn and Marcus Ward.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in fieldwork monitoring protected species such as the elusive Pine Marten.

By the end of the scheme, it is expected that participants will have gained experience of key skills including mammal camera trapping, breeding bird surveys, bird ringing, nocturnal moth and bat surveys, and baseline ecological surveys for all fauna, flora, and fungi, as well as an understanding of how collected data are informing site management for improved conservation outcomes. Participants will also gain an introduction to wildlife ecotourism, including operation of guided wildlife tours for the public. The Wild New Forest website and blog provide examples of some of our recent activities.

Participants will also gain experience in the operation of guided wildlife tours that provide the public with opportunities to see spectacular species like White-tailed Eagle.

Participants will be expected to attend at least one activity per month over the ten-month period, and to arrange their own travel to/from field sites. Wild New Forest operate on the Crown lands of the New Forest under Forestry England permit, and both Directors hold enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates. Participants will be expected to read and follow an appropriate risk assessment, but will need to declare that participation will be at their own risk.

All activities will be supervised by the Wild New Forest Directors, Marcus Ward and Prof Russell Wynn.

If you are interested in applying for the mentoring scheme this year, then please provide a personal statement of no more than one side of A4 outlining 1) your relevant previous experience in wildlife and conservation, 2) your future aspirations in this sector, and 3) why you would like to participate in this mentoring scheme. If you already have a CV then feel free to submit it with your application, but this is not compulsory so don’t worry if you don’t have one yet!

Applications should be emailed to by 28 Feb 2023. Selected participants will be informed shortly after, with the first activities being offered from the second week of March. We anticipate hosting up to 10 participants this year but will determine the final number once we have assessed all applications.

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