Turning childhood memories into a rewarding career
Having relocated to Newton from the world of banking, Coastal Ranger Jane Lancaster tells us about the huge variety involved in her role, and why she wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
I moved up to Newton-by-the-sea almost six years ago to become a Coastal Ranger, leaving a 20-year career in banking. The location has huge nostalgic value for me, and I wouldn’t have taken such a big pay cut to go anywhere else. It’s where I spent many holidays as a child and has a truly special place in my heart and memories.
Pretty much all of my work is either on the coast or looking at the coast – I call it ‘a job with a view’! The role has definitely evolved since I started; it used to be about 50/50 between ranger and community work, but because of the volume of work we have to do now, it’s definitely more ranger focused. But with that said it’s fantastic to be working at the seaside every day, in such a unique and special place.
Every day is different here; you can try and plan what you need to do but you have to be reactive to everything that’s going on around you. The spectrum of work is pretty vast – last week I was at a conference in Birmingham, but then the next day I was at the beach picking up glass and putting up signs to warn the public about swimming in bare feet!
Since joining I’ve made really good links with the local schools, and try to organise one activity a month to strengthen these partnerships. I have a teaching degree as well so it’s a chance to put it to good use and combine it with my ranger duties. This month, I’ll be leading one of the schools on a walk from the playground, down to the local beach.
Another project organised in partnership with the schools was a fun day out at the beach, as part of the Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign. We got the children involved in activities like rock pooling and building sandcastles, as a way to get them thinking about the outdoors. I even dressed up as a mermaid for the day!
We work with a lot of volunteers on quite a casual basis, and our main outdoor conservation group meets every Wednesday to help. Here I’ll tell them what projects they’ll be working on if they wish to, as well as all the information they need, from what they’ll be doing to what they need to wear. Our volunteers do a fantastic job of helping us to conserve the coast. They’re incredibly important to the work that we do, but as a team it’s our duty to make sure that they get the best out of what they’re doing, and enjoy the experience.