Park Ranger, Parks & Foreshore
Craig Ifield is a Park Ranger at Adur & Worthing Councils. His main role is to maintain our parks and open spaces. This includes working with green space volunteer community groups across Adur and Worthing helping them with various projects and supporting them in developing their groups.
Craig's background is with the The Conservation Volunteers charity as a project officer working to enable communities in Adur and Worthing to improve their health and wellbeing.
See also: Parks
You can read Craig's current blog posts on this page below:
Another week has gone and I hope you’re looking after yourself and that your garden is doing well.
It has been a privilege to see the changes in the season starting to truly take hold across Adur and Worthing, and I hope many of you are seeing nature's beauty from your home.
As the sun shines we can expect insects to start to reappear. With their reemergence we will also start to see more birdlife in the gardens. We can start to hear their morning and evening calls more clearly now, which to me is one of the greatest joys.
I would like to share the power of Soundscaping and this is something all of us can do. Soundscaping is an ecological surveying technique usually used for large reserves where counting is not feasible or allows for a quick snapshot of what life is out there. It is often used in oceans too.
This might be a nice activity to do during these times. Take five minutes and listen or record the sounds around you, be it from the kitchen window or being able to stand in the garden. Do this once a day or every other day, at different points in the day. Play it back and see what you can hear (or note down what you think you can hear if you do not wish to record), hopefully you will start to see a change in the calls in the day and might be able to start hearing different calls, from the iconic melodies of the Robin to the self-obsessed Chiff-Chaff.
This could be done as a family, or whoever is in your household, or alone. See what each of you can pick out, now that there will be less traffic on the roads, hopefully the calls of wildlife will be heard further afield. I do this every time I enter a new park or area and often give myself time to listen at home, I do not record it but it’s something that brings me calm as well as allowing me to know there is so much still to be thankful for in nature. The best times to do these recordings or listen out for the calls is dawn and dusk. This is not only used to record birds, it is something for all calls, however in Adur and Worthing birds will most likely be the loudest.
Soundscaping is a technique that is well used, and has been used in many ways to help us understand the impact humans have had on nature. Unfortunately, it has over time meant recording has become less and less rich in songs in many parts of the world, but it can help identify rare, hard to see life, such as the unmistakable call of the turtle dove. It has also allowed us to see how animals are communicating and helped us learn dolphins have their own form of speech, vastly complex unlike many other animals, more than just mating and territorial calls.
If you wish to share the recordings of nature please feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are having difficulty identifying certain calls I would be happy to help.
This week I would like to take the opportunity to discuss what we can do in our own gardens or in our own homes to help improve our wellbeing. As we all know being in the great outdoors is great for our physical and mental health. However, in these difficult times we will need to think about smaller greenspaces some of us have access to, like gardens or window boxes. There are also benefits in having indoor flowers, and small indoor herbal plants.
We must all still attempt to keep your physical health up even when staying at home. One way to do this, if you are lucky enough to have a garden, is to weed the beds, water the plants and do some general pottering. This work will burn calories in a way that is more enjoyable and beneficial than running around the living room!
Getting rid of weeds in the garden will help bedding plants and stronger polluters to come through in the garden, as you are reducing the competition in your garden's monoculture. However, the wilder the garden the better, as all gardens play a huge role in being a mass carbon sink as well as being a vital link for the green corridors across the whole of the UK. Gardens act as mini pit stops for all walks of life so it is best to enhance this as much as possible, having a mixture of growth in your garden, from wildflowers to pollinating bedding plants, grasses to log piles. These all are vital in helping wildlife.
If you do not have a garden, then herbal gardens in window boxes are also a great idea, these will allow not only for free herbs, but it will encourage wildlife to your windows. Many bees love Rosemary, Lavender and Chive. Similarly, a handful of wildflowers in a window box will encourage various butterflies to you. These small projects will not give you the same physical work out as that of gardening, but it will help with mental health. It stimulates the brain and will allow for a connection with nature which improves stress and anxiety levels.
Simply getting vital fresh air in the safety of your own home is crucial to your wellbeing. So bringing the outdoors to you is a great way to do this, allowing you to stay safe and socially distant.
While you are encouraging more wildlife into your garden or window boxes, this is your chance to play wildlife bingo, or try and quick sketches of what you see! These could be positive activities for children, to help them learn about pollination, the circle of life and our environment.
It would be great to see what you are doing in your garden. Maybe you’re working on a nature project or there’s something in your garden that has a personal meaning behind it that you’d like to share.
I’d love to hear from you please drop me a message via my email below.
Also if you’d like any advice on any projects you have in your garden or greenspace, like how to make a bird box or how to build a bug hotel please do pop me an email!
And don’t hesitate to send in any ideas of what we can all do at home, any activities or games we can all play to learn and have fun in these difficult times, and I’ll share them in my future blogs.
Contact Craig on email@example.com
This week has been lovely to start seeing the sights of spring coming through in our Parks. Celidine and Bluebells are coming through in woodlands, as well as last years succession bulbs beginning to bud, along with the blossom on the trees starting to sprout. With the first few rays of sunshine, it has brought with it the first pollinators floating around and bees buzzing.
In the UK there are 270 different species of bees alone, but since 1945 we have lost 97% of our wildflowers. However, the Park Rangers are fighting back against this by putting in more wildflowers in our parks - increasing the food for these very important insects. We have also been working with groups such as 'The Honey Collective', helping to support bee keepers in the Adur and Worthing area.
Photo: Honey bee (left) and bumble bee (right)
It was great to get some positive feedback from the Beekeeper at Buckingham Park this week. They were delighted to announce that their bees have survived the winter and are looking to expand the number of hives in the compound, due to the success from last year. Working together in this manner is the only true way that we can allow for our Parks to work for nature and help prevent such valuable life from going extinct, as well as allowing for wildflowers to flourish more.
This news, of one of our first beekeepers having been successful over their first year of being on the site, meaning it is something that can now be replicated on sites across Adur and Worthing. We're also aiming to work closer with Beekeepers and identify more pollinating highways to link hive to hive, as well as using these groups to be a keen eye for the wellbeing of the parks.
Us Park Rangers are aiming to improve all insect life in our parks, therefore allowing for more effective ecosystems, increased biodiversity and help beautify our parks. Insect life will mean more pollination, more carbon capturing forna and also increase bird life and other wildlife as it will mean more food for the food chain in our local area.
The above will mean even more plant life can flourish in areas that we do not know about or do not have access to, such as tucked away grass verges or small private greens. We know this will occur as seeds are being captured in the wings of birds and dropped far and wide, as well as be seeds being passed through their system allowing for them to germinate.
Please feel free to visit the Beekeeper in Buckingham Park to answer more questions on Bees and pollinators. If you know of any areas that could lend themselves nicely to being a pollination runway, please contact Parks.
March 3 is Wildlife Day, and I want to take this opportunity to showcase the power of nature, and how much we depend on nature for our basic life.
Last week I touched on the physical side of things, from food, carbon capture and even natural defences. This week I would like to discuss the impact that it has on the mind and body as well as allowing for a greater sense of wellbeing, and connectivity among all walks of life.
Most of us would’ve seen or heard of a sensor garden, which Parks are working in partnership with Sight Support Worthing to create a sensory Garden in Steyne Gardens. Parks are a great way for all of us to benefit from the great outdoors.
Photo: Flower in Beach House Park, Worthing
Starting with the basics, simply by being outdoors and walking through your local Park taking note of what flowers you see, or what birdsong you can here reduces stress. Use a park for a lunchtime walk, or during a meeting break, and reduce stress levels. It has also been proven that being outdoors reduces anxiety and depression, this is supported by Sussex Mind. We need nature to live and thrive, we are animals after all.
Respect and interaction with nature is deeply rooted in many cultures such as Japan, Pacfic Islands and Scandnavian countries, which is somewhat lacking in English culture. However the ranger team are trying to bring this interaction back on a local scale. We are doing this by taking groups out to do conservation work, and we are beginning to piece together an events programme for summer so people can re-engage in new ways, be it community art projects or bushcraft like activities. All these will be designed to showcase nature as a resource, and be free for all of the local communities to get involved in.
Photo: Community tree planting on Sompting Rec
Walking through the park once in awhile also helps improve your memory, re-energising the body and reduces the speed of fatigue. It also encourages emotional thinking and removes stress from our lives. When we go away on holiday everyone goes for the nice views or remembers the scenery more than anything!
We are surrounded by the beautiful sea and the wonderful South Downs, we have this stunning surrounding which are taken for granted, our parks can be the gateway to re-engage with our own natural beauty.
Other studies have shown that it actually has an impact on our physical health too. Some studies have shown that patients in hospitals that have window beds or ‘views’, recover quicker than others (still disputed to be fully accurate). Additionally, helping with our vision as well.
The simple act of being close to nature is huge. Nature holds all the answers to the problems that we face, but it needs to be a symbiotic relationship and work in harmony with our green spaces. This is a project the Council is very much dedicated too, and our parks will be the backbone and bloodline of our future, as well as for our present selves.
Photo: Bee on Judas Tree at Worthing Crematorium
3rd March is World Wildlife Day, a day set by the UN to highlight the endangered wildlife in today's world. I would like to take this opportunity to showcase the importance and the power of the natural world and how it can help us in our daily lives. There are many projects that I am excited about that will begin to unfold in the coming years, which will hopefully begin to reintegrate the natural world with our everyday life.
'Rewilding’ is a process Parks are beginning to introduce into the way we think about our Greenspaces. ‘Rewilding’ has been proven to fight back against climate change as well as drastically improving the health and wellbeing of local citizens. Rewilding is the management process by which you allow wildlife to take its nature course, but in a managed way. Many people were sceptical at first on this idea, it has been a popular opinion that wildlife has to be managed by people, however it did much better thousands of years ago without us around. It has adapted to its own environment and learnt to thrive there, so why do we try to contain it?
By allowing nature to do what it does best, it means you allow for the natural habitat to come into its own. It develops at its own rate and allows for there to be a mixture of various flora, funa and tree life, allowing for different animal ecology to develop. It is also the right sort of wildlife; these are native species as the landscape is reverting back to what this ecology is used to. The prime example of what can be done in terms of rewilding is Knepp Estate. This was originally unusable farmland, and today is the hub of ecology in Sussex.
How does this link to us? It is a way of thinking, it is the path the Park department is taking when maintaining our parks. Where possible we shall ensure native pollinators are planted rather than just bedding plants that bees don’t use. We are looking to create pollination highways through Adur and Worthing. We are also attempting to create more green corridors connecting and expanding the brilliance of the Downs into our town. This allows easier movement for ecology, preventing isolation of certain species which causes whole host of other problems.
We benefit further, as we depend on the natural world for our own health, food and survival. Bees for example generates £1.8 billion in pollinating crops for farmers, they pollinate nearly 80% of wildflowers and 1 in 10 bee species face extinction. Rewilding soils capture twice the amount of CO2 in comparison to most average soils. All parks in Adur and Worthing could become a major carbon sink in the coming years. Further tree planting in the area would improve this capture, alongside helping oxygenate our air. It will start with simple processes, like leaving materials where they lay rather than removal, adding more nutrients to the soil.
This does not mean all parks need to be left to become untamed wildlands. These techniques are just things the Parks teams wish to work with and include in our urban areas. These processes help fight climate change and allow us to have a more balanced relationship with the world around us, which in turn will allow us to use our parks in more interesting and exciting ways.
For more information on Knepp please visit knepp.co.uk, and to see more of what is happening locally, please contact Parks.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Rangers have been planting trees in Brooklands, creating closer links with South Downs National Park Authority, as well beginning work on creating a living willow dome. It has been great to see the public coming out and wanting to make a difference in their area, helping to support their parks to make improvement for future generations.
As those who attended quickly realised, there is more to tree planting than just digging a hole. One of the most important aspects is mulching. Mulching provides many benefits for the tree, more than simply suppressing the weeds. Weeds attempt to out compete young trees or attempt to strangle them, mulching suppressed them but also acts like the leaf litter or dead wood you would find in a woodland area. This layer in the wild is mulched down by millions of organisms, creating a fertile soil, the more organisms in a soil the more fertile that soil becomes, these are good bacteria. Mulch allows for nutrients to go back into the soil, giving the tree this vital resource helps it be become established in its early years. Mulch is essentially baby food for young trees.
This mulch also acts like a lid for the tree and holds in the moisture near the tree acting like a constant drip, so not all is lost a few days after a heavy rain. Mulch also increases the humidity in the area around the tree, which allows for a more thriving community of bacteria. It is also important for young trees to have old mulch and not brand new chippings. New chippings need to be broken down and the tree wastes its own energy to put nitrates back in the soil, diverting valuable energy from its own development.
This is a very basic management technique and can be transferred easily to your own gardens. Mulching acts like deadwood in woodland, it puts food back into the soil. This is the natural process that would happen, without this mulch the tree would not survive; soil needs to be enriched to allow for more life. The rangers are dedicated to this process, and are taking less cuttings of organic matter away from the sites, allowing for this enrichment of soil and helping the thriving wildlife.
For more information or wish to know more about the natural process the Rangers are beginning to implement in your parks, please get in contact with the Ranger team.
Photo: Mulch around newly planted trees to show how they protect trees
Photos: The difference between old mulch (top) and new mulch (bottom) - old mulch is more beneficial
This week I have been working with the wonderful group of Friends of Marine Gardens. This group is led by the Head Ranger Anthony, and the group has only formed in the last year or so. The work they carry out in with the head gardener is vital to Marine Gardens and their hard work and support will continue to be vital to allow for the area to flourish under the Green Flag Award. This is a community initiative that is free for all the locals to join, with a range of activities taking place form basic weeding to hedge planting.
These local residents came together and approached the Council in helping out with the prize winning gardening work that took place there, and they started off as a small group doing the basic work. Now as they find their feet they are doing bigger projects, they have collectively created a vision for the park, a vision that the parks team are fully behind and support. Together we meet every two weeks to execute this plan.
As you can see from the photo below the team have started to cut back the dense bushes and made them back into the trees that they should be. This has allowed for a clearance in the hedging allowing locals to see the pond from the cafe. It allows more light into the park as well, meaning more benches will be in the sun for longer.
It will also allow for the beginning of ground flora. This clearance has allowed for a greater area for flower beds to be planted, which will begin when appropriate. It is currently in discussion on what best will be suited for the soil type there.
Furthermore it adds a bit of extra security to the site, allowing for people to see through the park, and meaning lamp light comes through in the evenings. They are also responsible for aiding the Council gardeners in mulching up the flower beds and weeding them to ensure the survival of pollinating species in the park, connecting this park to the wider pollination highway.
Due to the size of the site most materials are removed and added to the Councils' green waste. However, where we can we leave small twigs and leaf litter on the soil, allowing for these nutrients to breakdown into the soil making it more fertile. This is a natural process, woodlands are not clear of all green waste and neither should small runs of trees as it is denying this ecosystem of food and resources.
I would like to just say a big thank you to this group from the parks team on all the work that they have done, and that they have set themselves to do. This group has formed by themselves and we have supported their ideas, as it is your park, it should have your ideas.
If you are interested in finding out more about the group, or if you wish to find out your local friends of group, please contact the parks team. You can also get in contact directly on Facebook Friends of Marine Gardens, Worthing.
Photo: Cutting back the dense bushes to open up the flower beds and views across the park (photo credit Friends of Marine Gardens)
Photo: The Friends of Marine Gardens with their Green Flag (photo credit Friends of Marine Gardens)
This week was a big week for Brooklands, as Friends of Brooklands Park became fully established and held their first AGM on Saturday 18th January 2020.
In the meeting they discussed what the Friends of Group will be carrying out in the coming year. This was a celebration of what the Group will be able to achieve as their own group, separate from the Council, but will be given support from the Rangers.
They have committed to having a task day once a month as well as events throughout the year. This will range from a whole host of activities including conservation tasks, choir night sings to craft days. This group is becoming the voice of Brooklands and a very positive and excitable one at that.
Their first task day of this year will be held this coming Saturday 25th January 2020, doing some tree planting and generally meeting the people that want to help improve Brooklands.
They will later have clearance days, planting more wildflowers and bulbs as well as connecting with Keep Britain Tidy in the Spring for the 'Big Spring Clean'.
It is the role of the Ranger team to support this group in delivering these wonderful conservation tasks and start to move forward with Brooklands in allowing it to be a site of ecological enhancement. It will be a site for people to be submerged into nature, be mindful of today's environment and give back what we can to the place that has given us so much already.
I am looking forward to working with this lovely group who are so passionate about this site.
Photo: The Friends of Brooklands Park hard at work removing litter from the Park and grounds
I would also like to take this opportunity to just reiterate the message of the group as was shown on Saturday. They are a group wishing to help make, and to sustain and support the natural habitats of Brooklands, promoting environmental improvement and allowing for it to be a site of education, alongside encouraging the use of the park for people of all walks of life.
They are looking for people not only to get down in the mud to dig, cut and plant, but also be a group to socialise, chat and help promote Brooklands.
They need volunteers to make the teas and coffees.
They need volunteers to come watch the wildlife and record what is seen to evaluate the improvement.
If this seems like anything you wish to do please contact Friends of Brooklands via their Facebook page or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is wonderful to see the start of a group like this and I am looking forward to the year ahead on what improvements this group will make to this one of a kind landscape in the heart of Adur and Worthing.
Photo: The Iconic pond situated in the centre of Brooklands Park
Photo: The lesser known amphitheatre at the North of Brooklands Park
Many of the projects that the Ranger team are involved in carry out the process of coppicing. This has on many occasions been mistaken as deforestation or damaging the environment. However, it is a process that has occurred for thousands of years to gain natural materials to build fencing, housing and pretty much everything needed at the time of use. It can be done to any tree but most commonly Hazel due to being fast growing and mainly growing straight.
Coppicing is the process of cutting down a tree at base level and allowing for new shoots to grow off it, eventually into, pretty much, fully fledged trees. These are then cut down at base level, developing a stool which more shoots come off. So you are making the tree grow several trees off of one trunk.
There are many reasons for this, one being that it has been occurring for so long that woodland flora, fauna and animals have become dependent on it. Many pollutants and plant life need that variation in light in order to grow. There needs to be a removal of the canopy to open up a glade below which allows for the sunlight to hit these dominant plants starting their chemical reactions to begin growing. It is a process allowing for variation throughout the woodland, due to being cut on a rotation. This then allows for a mixture of new and mature woodland, gaining a variation of wildlife throughout the woods.
Another benefit is that it prolongs the life of the tree. Take Hazel, typically lives to be 80 years old depending on conditions that it lives in and changes to the land. However, by coppicing it makes the tree believe it is a new tree from the stool, and the stool provides the energy for it as if it was a young tree. This then goes through all the stages as it normally would and then is cut down to start over again. This means they will last for several hundred years instead, always thinking it is about 7/10 years old (whatever the coppice rotation is).
We carry out this process in Whitebeam Woods, Malthouse Meadow, Lancing Ring and The Plantation just to name a few. If you would like to try this process and see the impact that it can have as well as learn how to build with the materials, please get in contact with the Ranger Team.
Photo: Coppice nearly ready to be cut
Photo: Coppice at about one year
Photo: Coppice at about two years
So here it is the eagerly awaited 2020, the start of a New Year and decade. 2020 is the proposed turning point against climate change from various Earth Summits, and the time where more people are concerned about the environment than the economy.
However, many people do not know what they can do to help, other than cycle to work, reduce power consumption and using various other eco-friendly alternative products. But, there is another way, join a 'Friends of Group' and project your own environment.
It is the time of new resolutions and trying new things, why not find out about your local conservation groups and see what you can do to help? There is so much that can be done in Adur and Worthing. Communities can build everlasting projects together, and protect the environment they love, making friends along the way as well as creating something amazing.
There is more to a conservation group then just sweeping leaves back off paths and cutting down dead plants or allowing for public right of way. There is habitat building, honing woodworking skills by building bird and bat boxes, or attempting something new with dead hedging. You can gain a keen aesthetic eye to allow for areas of pollination planting, which provide much needed sustenance to bees and butterflies while creating beautiful surroundings for locals.
Physical work is not all that needs to be done; all these groups need support with budgeting, finding funds, raising awareness, and support with communication and planning events. If you wish to help out your local environment but have not got the skills or do not feel physical conservation is for you, then do not fear, you are just as important. Your work behind the scenes will allow conservation work to be carried out. Without the whole group together, change would be impossible. We all need to work together to fight back against climate change, the power is in all our hands.
As with all 'Friends of Groups' you will have full support of the council and you will work with the Ranger team to implement the changes you want to see. A 'Friends of Group' can be set up anywhere (once agreed with the local authority) or you can join any group you wish, anywhere close to your heart is the best place to start. It is my role, as it is with the whole Ranger team, to support these groups in every way possible. If you do not know how to get involved or would like help to set up or join a group, please contact the Ranger team.
We cannot do all of it alone, we need your support and your views to turn the tide against climate change for good.
I've got to say a huge thank you to all current groups running, making small and big changes where you are. Your work is greatly appreciated and is vital to our current environment. Here is to more changes in 2020.
Photo: Sowing wild flower seeds
Photo: Wild flowers in Beach House Grounds, Worthing
This week I have been out with Friends of Shoreham Beach working alongside The Princes Trust, clearing invasive species from the beach.
Friends of Shoreham Beach, is a community run conservation group for the preservation of Shoreham Beach. It is run by the community for the community; the Ranger team support these groups in every way it sees fit. Be it removal of green waste, tools, physical work or helping run the group itself.
In 1992 Shoreham Beach was given the certificate of a Site of Conservation Importance and as such has been looked after by various groups to maintain this precious site. The site is precious due to it being vegetated shingle which is a rare habitat in the world and sustains rare wildlife which captivates niche species, such as Childing Pink and Nottingham Catchfly.
The work that the group does is vital in removing species that are out performing the rare vegetation. This work needs to be carried out, or these plants will no longer exist, which in turn will remove specialist insects that feed off these plants, which then leads to the predators having less food and killing these off as well. This has a huge knock on effect that can start ripples of problems affecting UK wildlife as a whole, and in very unpredictable ways.
These invasive plants do create a habitat for common wildlife, they are important to the ecosystem. However, many of these plants, such as Silver Ragwort, are garden escapees dating back to the 1890s. 130 years is not a long time for nature to adapt to allow it to be a food source in today's ecosystem. Since then Silver Ragwort has dominated the shores of the south competing against these niche plants that cannot outdo these more versatile plants, and in time have the potential to wipe out all other species. The reason they do this is because they are able to beat more fragile plants for light, food and root space.
Friends of Shoreham Beach work tirelessly to remove these alien species from other countries, which kill off the native UK plants damaging local ecosystems. These plants are trying to make the environment more like their native homes, which our UK plants and wildlife are not used to. Friends of Shoreham Beach do not only do practical removal of these plants but also monitor the movement of wildlife, track what has been gained and what is native and non-native. Their work ensures the survival of this rare habitat, preventing any further damage to the wider UK eco-structure.
It is down to Friends of Shoreham Beach and groups like them, that Adur and Worthing have so many wonderful greenspace. These groups are on the forefront of wildlife protection and reducing environmental damage. It is not just down to conservation charities to look after our world, it is up to all of us, everyone can make a difference.
Photo: Vegetated shingle on Shoreham Beach
Photo: Clearing invasive species on Shoreham Beach
This week I wish to acknowledge the importance of tree planting, to tie in with The Woodland Trust, who have just finished (30th November 2019) #EveryTreeCounts campaign attempting to get one million trees planted in the UK.
The importance of this is that it is a great way to fight back against climate change, but also to ensure that future generations have green areas to play and use. Just the same as we have.
Each tree that you plant is estimated over its life time to take in one tonne of Carbon, however this depends on tree type. This can help us tackle the ever growing fears of climate change in a very real and practical way.
I want to shine the light however not just on the ecological side of this wonderful activity, but to quickly share with you the way that it can bring communities and people together.
In the past week myself and the Ranger Team have worked with Shoreham Academy and Heene C of E, planting trees with the students, which was great to see all Years working together for a common cause, which they will personally see grow up as they do. They will walk past part of their local area that they have changed forever.
We also do this with local groups. For me, it's so nice to see people from all walks of life come together, share stories, experiences and do as one. This is not only good for the planet, but great to watch transform, as it is a legacy that will be left. It will sustain wildlife that you yourself would have given a home.
It is a project that all ages can get involved in, and all can see the difference that it makes over time.
Your community could plant a woodland, and create your own beautiful environment to be surrounded by nature, nature that you have been able to bring to a site or location. That to me is truly amazing, and something that everyone should experience.
If you wish to do such a community activity, such as a tree planting party etc, but have no where to start, then please contact the Ranger team. We are here to help you, it's what we are meant for - to help local people improve their local spaces for the better of future generations and ourselves.
Photos: Planting trees with the community, digging holes and adding compost - The Rangers in the photos are Anthony Read, Head Ranger, and Adam Scott.
Hello my name is Craig and I have just started the role as a Park Ranger in the Environmental Services department. I use to be a volunteer with the Rangers, with the aid of The Conservation Volunteers with whom I used to work.
I started volunteering straight out of college where I was unsure what career I wished to pursue. However after helping out to improve local wildlife with various organisations across Worthing, Brighton and Arundel, I had my heart set on being a Ranger. I have now joined Adur & Worthing Councils as I wish to carry on the same sort of work that I carried out with these charities but on a permanent and wider remit.
I quickly learnt that the Rangers, are very much at the public's disposal. We are here to be used by the 'friends of' groups, and help volunteers find their feet in how they can start improving their local parks and Greenspaces. We are here to take suggestions and help those wanting to see change, improvement or enhancement of what their community.
What seems to be overlooked in today's urban environment is the idea that we can not make a difference due to our urbanised area, only those who live in the New Forest or those up in the Lake District can have such an impact on the environment.
This is untrue.
The local Greenspaces are just as important and can hold just as much activity. Each space can have its own microculture reflecting the community around it, however this can be discussed in a later blog. In the past week I have been installing memorial benches, discussing regression projects for some of Adur and Worthing's greenspaces, helping improve playgrounds, even help formulate new 'friends of' groups.
What I am most looking forward to in this role though is being able to help like minded people improve their local areas and help to build a green corridor throughout Adur and Worthing.
I am also looking to be able to look back at the work that I do with pride and seeing the enhancements made to the local community and their Parks alike.
There are also some very exciting projects in the pipeline for the district which I am very happy to be on the forefront of.
I am excited to be in this role to help our planet, as well as help empower locals who do not know where to start with this type of work or have a passion for the environment but need their voices heard, I am here to help and aid those and build a network of like minded people to support their communities.
Photos: Lancing Manor Park
Photo: Brooklands Park Wildflowers
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