Thoughts of a new Woodland Ranger
By Hannah Dunstan
Hannah recently started to work for North Northamptonshire as a Woodland Ranger. Here she introduces herself and describes what the new job will entail.
I was very excited to be appointed as a Woodland Ranger for NNC - a position that has been funded by the government’s new Woodland Creation Accelerator Programme. This is aimed at helping local authorities accelerate the delivery of their tree-planting and woodland-creation schemes. This tree planting will play a key part in the government’s and North Northamptonshire Council’s response to climate change and the biodiversity crisis. Having a degree in Zoology, I understand the importance of planting trees and the benefits this can have for biodiversity and climate change mitigation, as well as improving the physical and mental health of local people.
Throughout my degree I focused on wildlife conservation, animal behaviour and ecology. I gained an understanding of the importance of supporting our ecosystems and adapting to the effects of climate change. I’m looking forward to putting my studies to good use and really making a difference in the real world by improving our natural environment.
My position is funded for two years, covering the winter planting seasons of 23/24 and 24/25; with the main aim of planting 10,000 trees in each year. Whilst this sounds like an ambitious target with the planting season only running from November to March, there are plenty of locations around North Northamptonshire that could benefit from tree planting.
As part of my position, I’ll be assisting in the development and delivery of the council’s woodland planting schemes and woodland creation in the area. Watch out for lots more details and appeals for help with this in due course!
Another important aspect of my position as Woodland Ranger is engaging with local communities. I will be doing this by supporting and engaging voluntary groups especially those planning any tree planting projects. Community tree planting events help to involve people from local areas, connecting them with nature and educating them on the importance of tree planting. I have already been busy meeting lots of different people and groups around the North Northamptonshire area and I’m looking forward to meeting many more of you as the weeks go by!
During my time in this position I will be working on attracting, leading and developing these volunteer groups and will be involving them with tree planting projects.
As part of this community engagement, I will also be involving local schools in tree planting events and other projects. In addition to this, I will be helping to source funding and grants for tree planting projects as well as any other associated community-led projects that may need financial help.
I will certainly be working with Rockingham Forest Vision, linking in with their connections to community groups and parishes; involving them in relevant tree-planting projects. I will be involved with Local Nature Recovery Plans and any potential tree-planting projects that will support these and create new corridors where they would be beneficial.
As well as this, I have been appointed as the new Tree Warden Coordinator as part of the tree warden scheme. You can read more about this scheme here. As coordinator, I will be supporting the existing tree wardens, arranging events and training sessions and keeping them updated with relevant information. I am also responsible for bringing new tree wardens on board so if you would like to find out more information please get in touch with me.
I am based in Corby but I will be working across the whole of North Northamptonshire. If you’d like to contact me with any queries or requesting more information please email me at: Hannah.Dunstan@northnorthants.gov.uk.
I am excited to be starting this new position and I am looking forward to working together, making connections and planting new woodlands.