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Bentley Priory Volunteer Chief Warden - Job Description


Bentley Priory is Harrow's only nationally important, biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and one of its best loved open spaces. We need a Chief Warden to coordinate site activities in collaboration with Harrow Council's Biodiversity Officer. As Warden you will You will be working with and supported by the Council's Biodiversity Officer and the Nature Recovery Ranger as well as the site's stockman and a small team of deputy and assistant voluntary wardens, with oversight from an active management committee, and the backing of the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum (HNCF) which underpins volunteer work in Harrow's wild areas with administrative support, tools, insurance and advice.

The Chief Warden position was held for over 30 years by Peter Peretti, who guided management of the site and led many improvement projects including the creation of the Dragonfly Ponds near the World War II pillbox, and the opening up of the Glenthorne entrance off Common Road.

Although the role involves some physical activity the main responsibility is organisational: agreeing what needs to be done on the site with Harrow's Biodiversity Officer and then arranging for and supervising volunteers or contractors to do the work.

We are looking for a volunteer who is either a keen naturalist with a good understanding of how effective management can maintain and improve species and habitat richness, or someone who is enthusiastic about the site and its wildlife and already has some relevant experience, or perhaps even a retired ranger or ecologist.

They should be comfortable with supervising paid contractors and volunteer working groups, as well encouraging wider involvement voluntary involvement with the site and its interpretation ‐ helping support its stewardship and explaining why this is important.

Surveying and recording plant and animal life on the reserve is important in assessing management outcomes and pressures on the reserve. It is also rewarding in its own right and satisfying to be able to name and point out unusual species to visitors. The more about natural history the warden knows the better, and training can be provided but the warden can call on professional and amateur experts to undertake surveys. Organising the warden team and others to talk to the public and leading occasional guided walks can also be valuable in explaining the reasons for management action and, where appropriate, gently guiding visitors towards more wildlife-friendly behaviour.

Help and support will be available from: Time commitment: This would very much depend on your interests and availability. The likely minimum would be a half or whole day per week on average with some weeks when the only responsibility would be to visit for an hour or so to see how the site and the resident longhorn cattle are getting on, or to coordinate visits and reports with the warden team. At other times you might be supervising works or guiding volunteers for much of the day or planning new projects.

This is a great opportunity to make a significant difference to a jewel of Harrow's green spaces. To learn more and discuss options contact Steve Whitbread, Harrow Council's Biodiversity Officer, at steve.whitbread@harrow.gov.uk or by phone at 07860 828322.

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