Blaenau Gwent’s resident ecologist Nadine Morgan tells us how volunteering with her Local Nature Partnership enabled her to get her dream job as an ecologist.
We all know that volunteering is great for your mental wellbeing, meeting new people, and helping your community.
But if you are looking for a career in nature conservation, volunteering with your Local Nature Partnership can also help improve your CV and provide you with the necessary skills to take the leap. Just ask Blaenau Gwent’s resident ecologist Nadine Morgan!
Bringing biodiversity to
Nadine started her career ten years ago as a volunteer with the Local Nature Partnership (then known as the Biodiversity Partnership), working on the Schools Biodiversity Improvement Project.
‘The project worked with schools to help enhance biodiversity within the school grounds, create learning opportunities for school children and cultivate an appreciation of nature conservation and biodiversity,’ says Nadine. ‘The project initially started as a pilot with five schools distributed across the borough, but we eventually expanded to 25 schools.’
Path to employment
She then got the job as the Schools Biodiversity Officer, where she continued to develop the project. She worked with each school to identify the existing biodiversity resources (or lack thereof) and come up with an individual biodiversity management plan.
From 2016 the project expanded to also focus on environmental issues such as recycling, water & flooding, sustainability and climate change.
‘The natural environment is an incredible resource, providing the ideal place to develop skills, improve health & wellbeing, and instil citizenship while cultivating a greater understanding and appreciation of our natural world,’ says Nadine. ‘The role our young people play in developing the world’s interdependent systems is hugely important.’
Tidy Town Awards
To date, a substantial amount of work has been carried out, working with schools to increase the biodiversity within their grounds and to raise awareness of biodiversity conservation and natural resource management amongst school children.
The project was hugely successful, coming runner up in the Tidy Towns Awards in 2012 and 2017 for the Biodiversity Improvement award & Sustainable Futures award.
‘I wouldn’t be where I am today…’
Nadine is now the resident ecologist at Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, providing advice across Council services, developing and supporting the implementation of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Resilience Forward Plan, and contributing towards the Local Nature Partnership.
Nadine is also the Project Coordinator for the Resilience Greater Gwent collaboration project, funded by Welsh Governments Enabling of Natural Resources and Wellbeing Grant.
‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for volunteering,’ says Nadine, ‘thanks to my volunteering experience with the Partnership ten years ago, it has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to help support my career progression. I am now in my ideal career, working on the ground to help recover and enhance nature in the community I care so much about.’