Education Volunteer

Janette Esclick, Education Volunteer


Janette Esclick, Education VolunteerI decided to begin volunteering at Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve over 5 years ago when I decided to refocus where I wanted to put my volunteering energies now that my children were getting older.

I had been heavily involved in volunteering with my local National Childbirth Trust (NCT) when my 2 children were younger and had worked in Fundraising and Marketing for National Charities as an employee and latterly a consultant. I have always had a keen interest in nature and wildlife, and seeing my children grow up inspired by nature, I decided that this was an area I’d like to get more involved in – so I contacted the Education Team at Brandon Marsh to see how I could get involved!

I began by going in to the office one day a week to help out the Education team with the marketing and PR work – trying to help promote all their holiday activities the run and tell move people about them to help increase participation. As the first ‘silly’ season began, when the team started to host their regular school groups from Easter through to September, I decided I’d also like to become more hands on with the children and activities. So after shadowing lots of sessions to see how they were run, I decided to become a volunteer leader for the school groups. Since then I’ve juggled helping with school groups and doing marketing/PR work from home when I can, as most if it is on-line now and I can do remotely. I’ve become an expert in pond dipping, mini—beast hunting, doing art in the woods, den-building and much more! I’ve also helped cover the Toddler Group ‘Nature Tots’ which reminds me of my NCT days when I used to run their Toddler Group!

It’s been great fun to be part of the Education Team at Brandon Marsh – Vicky runs the team and is great fun to work with and very encouraging and supportive. We have a great team of volunteers too, who between us manage to cover all the school groups that Brandon host – which is usually 1 or 2 schools for most days over the Spring/Summer! We get together for pre-season training (usually involving cake!) and also arrange social walks/meals every few months so that we can meet up outside the school sessions. We are quite a mixed bunch – some ex-teachers, nature enthusiasts or keen ‘mums’ like me!

I’ve found volunteering for the Education team great fun and a great way to keep my confidence in the workplace while I’m not in ‘paid’ work. There is no pressure to commit to certain hours, and you can plan your time in advance when Vicky e-mails round the schools schedule, with a plea for help! You can also take a lead on the activities you feel most comfortable with. With a good team of volunteers in place, I usually find I am helping with a school once or twice a week – but if I am busy with other commitments I may miss a week. If you are at all interested in joining our team to help out when you can and spread the load – please do get in touch!


To find out more about our current volunteering opportunities please click here or contact our Volunteer Manager.