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Warden - Orkney

Reference: MAR20218404
Expiry date: 23:59, 25 April 2021
Location: RSPB Scotland - Orkney
Salary: £25,280.00 - £28,045.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave

RSPB Scotland is a major landowner in Orkney. The reserves team (Sites Manager, four Wardens and an Assistant Warden) manage 13 nature reserves protecting and enhancing a fantastic range of habitats from coastal cliffs and unique wetlands to rolling uplands, supporting a variety of priority species including seabirds, breeding waders, and raptors. We are seeking a dynamic individual, with relevant experience, to be part of the Orkney team and help deliver our conservation objectives across our reserves network.

The RSPB team on Orkney is mainly based in our office in Stromness. We also have a Conservation Officer and Conservation Adviser, who are involved in providing advice on management of land out with the reserves. Our Events and Communications Officer looks after all our public engagement work, and we have an Education Officer who works with the Orkney schools. We have an Office Manager to keep our office running smoothly. Outside of the Stromness office we have a small team to run the reserve and farm operations on Egilsay and a seasonal Asst. Warden on Papa Westray. An Area Manager oversees the Orkney team and a partnership project (Orkney Native Wildlife Project) based in Kirkwall to remove the invasive non-native stoat from across Orkney.

What’s the role about?

As one of the wardens for Orkney reserves, you will help to deliver our management plan objectives for each site alongside the existing reserves and area teams. Main tasks include delivery of habitat management, health and safety and cross compliance standards, monitoring of key bird species and associated administration.

Our primary habitat management is grazing but work on the ground also includes seasonal cutting of vegetation, removal of non-native invasive species, production and use of green hay, predator control and some management of contractor work.  Grazing is currently supplied by third party graziers but in addition we are keen to develop our own in-house capacity by acquiring our own RSPB grazing herd to help focus management on our reserves, this would be a key element of the role.

There are currently four agri-environment schemes running which need to be administered and managed on the ground as part of this role. To deliver management plan objectives the warden would be involved in project management, supervision of contractors, providing a quality visitor experience, report writing and other associated administration, working as part of a team and assisting in managing and inspiring local volunteers. A variety of machinery and equipment is required to be used for habitat management work from brushcutters to tractors.

Key activities will include:

  • Day to day responsibility for the implementation of the reserve management plans in conjunction with the reserves team and external graziers, to ensure delivery of site conservation objectives and compliance obligations.
  • Plan, undertake and oversee key species and habitat survey and monitoring work to ensure delivery of the reserves objectives.
  • Ensure the reserves are managed with colleagues in accordance with best practice with respect to health and safety, adequate control of risks, good environmental management and legal compliance of all work areas.
  • Supervise and manage volunteers or contractors to carry out work on site safely and legally to deliver the management plan targets or specific project work.
  • Deliver and facilitate events for visitors and maintain reserves visitor infrastructure.
  • Manage medium and small projects using the RSPB’s Project Management Framework to achieve site objectives and delivery of management plan objectives.
  • Production of the management plans and annual reports for selected reserves.

What we need from you:

This role will suit an applicant with an interest in wildlife and land management, with proven bird monitoring skills, agricultural and livestock experience and good communication skills. The applicant should enjoy working with others as part of a team or independently when required, as well as being able to cope with the physical demands of the role in a variety of habitats and weather conditions.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Relevant conservation (including grazing), ecological and land management experience.
  • Practical agricultural and livestock management experience and knowledge to enable you to deliver our current reserves agri-environment schemes.
  • Experience of wetland and/or upland management in the UK
  • Experience of living and working in remote areas within small communities would be an advantage.
  • A proven track record in biological monitoring techniques relevant to the role.
  • Relevant knowledge and application of health and safety standards, compliance requirements associated with agricultural and environmental legislation with particular reference to grazing livestock.
  • Good communication skills and computer literacy which includes record keeping and data management.
  • Proven ability to work in a team and to build collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders including farmers, suppliers, neighbours, colleagues, contractors and regulators.
  • Machinery operational experience on a variety of relevant equipment, and an ability to carry out tool and machinery maintenance is desirable.
  • Good practical estate skills, such as fencing and maintaining reserves visitor infrastructure
  • Experience of managing and engaging volunteers and supervising volunteer work parties.
  • Public engagement experience, particularly involvement with visitor events.


We are looking to conduct interviews for this position w/c 3rd May 2021. If you would like to discuss the role further please call Alan Leitch on 07887 626327, or email alan.leitch@rspb.org.uk for more information.