Darren has a ‘passion for the environment’

Darren Nortcliffe
Darren Nortcliffe

As a West Lindsey Project Officer, Darren Nortcliffe, helps to improve the woodland areas.

Darren, 49, has been in his current role since February of this year, but has worked for The Conservation Volunteers since 1998.

The Conservation Volunteers is a community volunteering charity that works to create healthier and happier communities for everyone through environmental conservation and practical tasks undertaken by volunteers.

Darren said: “I started out as a volunteer, then became a Volunteer Officer (VO), a full time voluntary post in which I was responsible for leading groups of volunteers and organising working holidays.

“I then gained a full time position in March 2000, working initially as a supervisor for the Environmental Task Force, then becoming a trainer/assessor for NVQ’s in forestry and conservation,

“I was promoted and became a regional training co-coordinator, managing other members of staff and supporting them in their roles, utilising the experience I had gained over the years.”

Due to changes in funding regimes Darren returned to a role as a Training Officer delivering Diplomas in Environmental Conservation in the Peak District National Park.

Now as a Project Officer in West Lindsey he leads groups and organises projects including woodland management, pocket park creation and path construction at sites including Mercer Woods, Pitt Hills Plantation and Theaker Avenue LNR (Local Nature Reserve).

Darren said: “My passion for the environment and conservation both urban and rural and the fulfilment that the role brings from working with a diverse group of people from a real variety of backgrounds and ages.”

Due to working outdoors Darren says the weather is often seen as his biggest challenge.

He said: “But after working outdoors for more than 20 years you get used to it.

“Logistically some of the projects can be quite challenging but this makes the job more interesting.

“The rewards include the satisfaction of seeing projects completed to a high standard that are of benefit to both nature and local communities, and seeing individuals progress and develop and achieve a sense of achievement and well being.”

Darren didn’t plan on joining The Conservation Volunteers or working in conservation so it came along as a surprise.

He said: “After working as a dry stone waller for some time, I tried my hand at a number of different jobs, and then decided to go to university, following my interests, and study for a degree in Environmental Science.

“On gaining a BSc I then found that employers were looking for people with practical experience as well as an academic qualification which led me into volunteering with TCV. I planned to stay for 6 months.”

Darren says his biggest achievement is seeing the people he has trained go on to bigger things.

He said: “People that I have trained have progressed to employment in the conservation sector including becoming National Park Rangers, National Trust Rangers, trainers in TCV and self employed dry stone wallers and working over a wide geographical spread from the Peak District, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall to Provence and Corsica.”

When he is not busy with a project Darren has two sons, aged nine and seven, who keep him busy. He enjoys spending time with his family, visiting the countryside and places of historical and cultural interest.

He said: “If there’s any time left, which there rarely is, I like to enjoy my garden, play guitar and ride my motorcycle.

“I’m not an ambitious person really, I think job satisfaction and a feeling of feeling of fulfilment are the most important factors in your working life.”