Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Work Placement: Kathryn at Suffolk Wildlife Trust

As part of Breaking New Ground, we are funding 12 work placements across our projects to give people the opportunity to gain experience in conservation, heritage and other roles such as film making.

Kathryn Falkner started volunteering at Lackford Lakes in March 2016, having had a career as a primary school teacher in Suffolk, as well as teaching adults. With her background in education, Kathryn wanted to take the opportunity of working with Suffolk Wildlife Trust further to play a part in encouraging children, (and accompanying adults), to appreciate the benefits and importance of the outside world, and to support learning about a variety of aspects of the environment through taking part in different practical activities. It is her intention to pursue employment opportunities in this kind of field, linking education and conservation.

This Breaking New Ground funded placement helped to heighten her understanding and experience of this type of work which will in turn strengthen job applications for relevant posts in the future. Kathryn was developing programmes for learning about Breckland environments at Lackford Lakes and taking part in some Suffolk Wildlife Trust adult ‘Wild learning’ courses to help develop knowledge of relevant species. With the knowledge gained from these courses, she was well placed to share the information with visiting school groups and on family days. Under the guidance of Education Officers at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Kathryn helped with planning, developing, trialling and evaluating programmes for visiting local primary school groups throughout the summer term of 2016 with the general learning aim of enriching knowledge of, and interest in the Brecks and the fantastic species of the local landscape.

The programmes and resources produced will be reused, helping to support the work of the Education Officers in the future. Kathryn was very passionate and excited to play a part in inspiring others to learn about Brecks wildlife and the local environment and how the interaction of nature and people has created the unique landscape of the Brecks, through taking part in hands-on, memorable experiences.

Kathryn said at the start of her placement - “I recently started as an education intern with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Lackford Lakes. I’ve already had a chance to support Emma Keeble, the education officer, with running school, family, young warden and teacher training events here. Now with Heritage Lottery Funding it will be possible to plan sessions and produce resources concentrating specifically on Breckland species as part of a project with Breaking New Ground. It will be really rewarding to play a part in heightening the awareness of those visiting Breckland environments through a range of new activities as well as making use of new equipment such as child-friendly microscopes. With the experience I gain from the internship and the Breaking New Ground project I hope to be better placed to work in this kind of field in the future and so this is such a valuable and exciting experience for me as I move towards the next phase of my career. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved at Breaking New Ground and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust for their support.”

On completion of her placement at the end of the summer term, Kathryn said “The experience of working at Lackford utilising the funding from BNG has certainly enhanced my own understanding of Breckland species. If I am able to work or volunteer in an outdoor education environment again in the future then everything I have done so far will be invaluable. It has also meant I have been able to produce resources such as the Brecks trail in a more informed way. I hope that children of different ages and experiences can continue making good use of the resources and equipment which BNG has funded for many years into the future.”