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Two graduates are launching their nature conservation careers in the North Pennines thanks to an AONB Partnership project funded with more than £165,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Gearoid Murphy and Beck Baker have been taken on as Conservation and Land Management Trainees and will be contributing to the AONB Partnership’s conservation projects such as Hay Time and the Peatland Programme, and will be contributing to the rights of way and access work and species protection work which help to make the North Pennines a special place.
Gearoid, age 28 from Glenbeigh in Ireland worked as a volunteer for Killarney National Park before working in the North Pennines AONB. He is particularly interested in water quality having studied Environmental Science at University College, Cork. Gearoid who is a keen hillwalker and climber said: “I really enjoy working on conservation projects and want to do more, and this seemed like an ideal opportunity. I’m also looking forward to the snowy winters here and to building a snow hole.” Gearoid has started blogging about his experiences as a trainee; he offers an entertaining view of his year in the North Pennines AONB at http:// gearoidnorthpennines.blogspot.co.uk
Rebecca, age 23 from Linton, Herefordshire worked as a volunteer for Herefordshire Council carrying out woodpecker surveys and also in a support role with the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty after getting her degree in Environmental Science from Aberystwyth University. Her intention is to build a career in conservation.
Earlier this year the North Pennines AONB Partnership was awarded an extra £56,000 by the HLF to extend its highly successful Heritage Landscape Skills project. The Partnership originally won £109,500 in 2010 to give six ‘apprentices’ the chance to learn skills which would help conserve some of the region’s most beautiful landscapes for future generations.
Two years into the four-year project, five people have successfully completed their training. Two walling trainees worked with local professional wallers to finish their placements with good qualifications and are now working on a mix of wet and dry stone walling. Two more have just gained their Level 2 qualifications in Weardale, County Durham. One graduate trainee has spent 12 months on a variety of assignments from surveying hay meadows for reseeding to helping with farm
environment plans, interpretation, education and access work. Gearoid and Beck’s
appointments will bring the total of graduate trainees taken on by this project to
Lesley Silvera, The AONB Partnership’s Project Development Officer said: “The original Heritage Landscape Skills Project was successful in providing a sound programme of training and we could build on this to offer some more skills being transferred which we hope will convert into small businesses that work towards landscape improvements and meaningful conservation work.”
For more information please contact Lesley Silvera at the AONB Staff Unit on 01388 528801 (email@example.com) or visit www.northpennines.org.uk and
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