After moving from Bolton to Worksop with his family three years ago, Ben found that the biggest change in his life was the amount of greenery on his doorstep. He began visiting Creswell Crags on a daily basis where he realised he was passionate about nature and the environment. Ben then decided to enrol on the Level 3 Diploma in Countryside Management at North Notts College.
The course has enabled Ben to learn how to make an area interactive and fun for children, the rules of interpretation along with names of the different species of trees and flowers to name a few topics. Alongside his studies, Ben currently works at Welbeck Farm Shop and is the Head Volunteer at Creswell Crags. The skills Ben acquired on his course were beneficial to him during his job interview and gave him the confidence he needed to succeed. Ben found out on New Year’s Day that he had got the job and was the new Head Volunteer at Creswell Crags.
Ben also took part in the World Skills Fair, which took place in Birmingham in 2016, in the Environmental Science area. His team were given a task to invent a green plan for a made up country, this gave the team lots of experience and they received business cards from a representative of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for a reference.
Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge and cave system, country park and wildlife reserve featuring an ancient woodland and a man-made lake on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. There are four caves on the site, one which is fabled to have housed Robin Hood and another which has the most Northern cave art in Europe of our Homosapien ancestors. There are many fossils still being excavated to this day that show evidence of the area being home to a variety of ice age animals such as hyenas, mammoths, rhinoceros, and migrating herds of reindeer during the continental drift.
Ben’s role involves patrolling, conservation of the site which includes mending fences and chopping down trees, checking the caves, litter picking, assisting visitors and other tasks to aid with the maintenance of the park. When Ben is not working as Head Volunteer he gets involved as much as he can in other activities and events that take place at the Crags such as dressing up in a mammoth costume for a demonstration and participating in plays and theme days.
Ben has big ambitions for his future, he would ideally like to go on to own his own conservation woodland and help to save the environment and the bees. In the meantime, he has plans to volunteer throughout the summer including abroad at a Brazilian sloth sanctuary. Following this, Ben is keeping his options open and considering either a full-time job or university. He would like to study architecture following his Countryside Management course as he is interested in the caves and fossil excavation at Creswell Crags and aspires to become a guide.
Ben said “My tutor, Geoff, taught me everything; before I came here a tree was just a tree, now I know almost every tree name and can identify them. Once I learn one thing I want to learn everything about it, I’m really passionate about saving the environment and getting involved as much as possible.”
The Marketing Director at Creswell Crags, Rachel Wood, commented “Ben is an exceptional example of a how a young person can turn a passion for something into a potential career if they have the determination to try.
“Ben’s love of the outdoors and nature shines through in everything he has done for us here at Creswell Crags.
“He is willing to put his hand to any task, he has even dressed up as a woolly mammoth!
“Ben is friendly, reliable, hard-working and enthusiastic and he is a true credit to himself and North Notts College.”
For more information about our Land-based courses please visit www.nnc.ac.uk or call 01909 504504.