In late November 2015 I received an email I had been eagerly awaiting. Confirmation that I had secured a 12 week graduate internship with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, supported by Teesside University.
I had a starting date, some phone numbers to contact and a few emails to send, and then I had to wait for January to come along. Truth be told other than a basic outline of the roles, I was clueless as to what work the internship would entail. Would I just be getting cups tea and coffee for everyone like my friend has done on an internship? I prayed not.
In the first week of December I had been to visit the people I would be working alongside at the Trust, Paul and Sue. I arranged to meet them and have a short chat about the role and the sort of things I would be doing with the Trust. Everything was new to me, and everything sounded great. Roll on January.
My first two weeks were a mix of a little bit of everything. Some days out on Nature Reserves, some at sites doing repair work, some days in the office. On my second day I was even attending a meeting with Roseworth’s residents association in Stockton!
Since those nervy two weeks getting to grips with things I have done a massive range of things I would never have imagined myself doing, especially coming from a theatre background and having studied for a Performing Arts degree at University! I have now completed risk assessments, chased up prices on various bits for projects, planned an event taking place at the end of March, helped to run a successful ‘Bird Bonanza’ event during half term week, and even tried my hand at tree felling! It’s more fun than learning lines from a script and I’m still waiting to see if anyone wants me to bring them a cup of tea…
What I can say is that 7 weeks into the 12, I couldn’t be happier where I am. I have found that I really do enjoy working outside, even in the wet and cold, I really do enjoy doing things that benefit wildlife, and I don’t even mind early mornings now. I want to say I can’t wait for the last 5 weeks of my internship, but I also don’t want them to pass.
If you get the chance, give working or volunteering in conservation a try. If you’re anything like me, you might just find a new career path that you can’t wait to get on!