Becoming a ranger
Seasonal rangers make up a crucial part of our workforce every year. From helping other staff with their ongoing work to chatting with visitors to our forests, it's a varied and interesting role. We caught up with one such ranger, Carola, to see how she was getting on.
What made you want to become a seasonal ranger with FLS?
I love the outdoors and feel passionate about how it can benefit us all, especially after the 2 years we've just had. Helping visitors access our forests and creating a pleasant experience is fab. Prior to this I worked promoting active travel at Napier University, which was great, but I had a long commute. Being able to work locally was a strong pull for me.
Carola works in our South Region in the Scottish Borders
What is the best part of your job?
Meeting people and talking about their visits and plans. I recently met a kid around 12 out on a mountain bike for the first time. I rejoiced at encouraging his new experience, and I hope this helps inspire him to come back and explore further. Call me weird, but I also love getting paid to pick up litter!
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Normally I would avoid confrontations. Now, if people look like they are planning a fire, or have not paid for parking, or are playing loud music in their car in a peaceful forest carpark, I give myself a little kick to go over and start a conversation. I try to look at it as an opportunity to educate and am getting better at it.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve discovered since starting this role?
It is great discovering all the little forests I haven't visited before, especially further south from home. Meeting the other staff and finding out about their areas of expertise has been great, and volunteers too, like the people keeping an eye on ‘our’ ospreys.
Where is your favourite forest/viewpoint/spot?
Impossible to say, there are so many nice views, sculptures and woods. But I came across a lovely seating area made from branches completely by chance the other day. According to our environmental ranger they were made by a group called Branching Out, a mental wellbeing project. I love little surprises like that. There are some stunning woodcarvings in Ae forest. Also, even in a busy forest like Glentress, you can still find tranquil spaces.
Describe your role in 3 words.
Escaped the computer (well, nearly).