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Essay On Nature Conservation Vacancies

The poor old hedgehog. Their numbers have declined by a quarter in the past decade. Our national enthusiasm for solidly constructed modern fences leaves no space for them to move through and decking stops them digging for worms and nesting.

It left me feeling rather guilty about our decision to deck over an overgrown area behind our house, that's for sure.

It's an issue the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People's Trust for Endangered Species are taking very seriously - the conservationists have launched a campaign appealing for people to make their gardens more hedgehog-friendly.

This initiative is just one example of the work which goes into conserving nature across the UK. So, what if you're keen to forge a career in this area?

It's certainly a popular choice on our forums - many of our readers, though, aren't sure what it takes to break into this type of work. Poster and biomedical sciences graduate biggerdunk wonders if a master's in a more relevant subject is required for a conservation career, while IDClarke is finding it hard to land voluntary experience, as he can't support himself in a full-time unpaid role which would mean moving to a different part of the country.

So, to give them and others a helping hand, we've decided to run a live Q&A looking at how you can break into a career in nature conservation. Join our panel of experts on 10 June from 1pm until 4pm - advance questions welcome.

To keep up-to-date with our regular Q&A sessions, you can now sign-up for our newsletter here.

Our panel:

Laura Bentley is Aire Valley visitor experience manager at RSPB Fairburn Ings nature reserve

Laura's role includes dealing with the media, managing the visitor centre, generating income and managing a team of people who maintain visitor experience on the site.

Paul Frear is an Environment Agency fishery officer, based in Newcastle

His role includes habitat improvement work and influencing stakeholders to create better places for people and wildlife.

Alastair Driver is the Environment Agency's national conservation manager

Alastair works for the Environment Agency's head office fisheries and biodiversity team, on projects to protect endangered species, manage invasive species and improve habitats.

Per Bogstad is manager of sustainable value chains (UK and Ireland) for the Rainforest Alliance

Per has worked for more than ten years in the field of biodiversity conservation, on the development and management of multi-stakeholder business/NGO partnerships.

Gwen Potter is currently an apprentice on BTCV's Natural Talent scheme

Gwen studied Zoology at Newcastle University and then an MSc in Wildlife Conservation & Management.

Ed Nicholson is an area warden and forester for the National Trust

His varied work includes events, community liaison and managing more than 60 miles of footpaths and bridleways.

Dori Kirchmair is coordinator of the Community Garden project at the Partnership Council, a community charity in Nottingham which runs a range of environmental projects including urban wildlife projects

The charity helps local people and volunteers to set up their own wildlife projects, by giving them advice, practical support and funding.

Philip James is professor of ecology in the School of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Salford

Philip is a fellow of the Society of Biology, and also a fellow of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

David Middleditch is a consultant within the environment group for ADAS, an independent provider of environmental solutions, rural development services and policy advice

David manages accounts for corporate clients and provides ecological and other environmental consultancy services to a wide range of clients.

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