Natur am Byth blog – Jan 2024

Written by John Clark – Natur am Byth Programme Manager

A partnership force for species and communities

Since December I’ve been in the middle of a surge of Natur am Byth activity with many new staff starting their posts across the partnership.  As programme manager I have responsibility for inducting all of our Natur am Byth (NaB) colleagues, sharing how this partnership came to fruition and the evolution of our partnership aims and vision. It’s been a welcome task to step back and fully consider how far things have come since 2018 when this collaboration started to formulate with support from Welsh Government funding.

Traveling across Wales to meet every new staff member has been a joy, talking about their diverse backgrounds first hand and building new relationships.  Their passion for saving species and connecting people to nature is such a positive force, and I’m pleased we can hand over each exciting NaB project to such dynamic teams.

Reflecting while looking to the future

One thing that’s really struck me is how experienced our new colleagues are in both community engagement and applied conservation.  I remember early in my career that staff would often be placed within the ‘people focused’ or ‘ecology’ tribe, so I’m heartened to see such a balanced skillset across all of our project teams.   In developing our activity plans and partnership vision we focused on hard wiring both habitat management and community outreach across all of our projects.  It brings me such satisfaction to see this planning realised within our 21 new staff. 

All this reflection and the many induction sessions has made me realise that I’ve been in this game for some time now (!).  I started my first tentative steps into nature conservation in the early 2000s after I graduated with a Zoology degree.  For myself, and other new starters, roles within grant funded projects and programmes such as NaB were often the launch pad into an environmental career.  Back then the voices on the need for our sector to reflect greater diversity were not commonly heard, but through good fortune I found myself working alongside great volunteers from the Black Environment Network in the west of Scotland and gradually created a small network of other LGBTQ+ people working in the sector. 

I’m proud that with Natur am Byth we’ve made inclusion and diversity central to our programme mission – not something I would have imagined when starting in my career.  I hope the current wave of staff and volunteers who are new to nature conservation won’t have to rely purely on good fortune to find people like them.  In this partnership we are serious about the need for an environment sector that better reflects the nation it serves.  As a result, we will be more resilient, and garner greater support.

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