More Jobs of the Wild career advice for you. Want to know how to be a conservation officer for one of the UK’s wildlife trusts?

If you love British wildlife then this might help you decide whether wildlife conservation is the job for you.

At an Otter spotting evening in 2016 I had the pleasure of meeting Vivien Kent, PhD from Durham Wildlife Trust. Dr Kent kindly agreed to tell Kids of the Wild about her job working with wildlife in the County Durham area.

Durham Wildlife Trust

Durham WT is one of 47 individual wildlife trusts in the UK, which together make up The Wildlife Trust, the leading UK conservation organisation for all wildlife, employing more than 2,000 people in a variety of jobs and voluntary roles country-wide.

To find your local Trust see Useful Links below.

Job Description

Dr Kent’s job within Durham Wildlife Trust is two-fold: –

1. Conservation Officer: To conduct and organise surveys for various mammal species; train volunteers in survey skills and ecology; manage short-term projects involving habitat restoration and creation.

2. Mammal Web Project Officer: To manage and deliver a two-year Heritage Lottery Funded Project to monitor the wild mammals of the north-east using remote-capture cameras operated by volunteers. The project is run in collaboration with Durham University who have created a website (see Useful Links at bottom of page). The volunteers upload the images captured on the camera traps to the website and other volunteers view and classify them by identifying the animals they contain. A PhD student at the University analyses the data.

The main photo of the Roe Deer on this post is taken using one of Mammal Web’s camera traps.


Paid 20-25k pro rata

The Conservation Officer post is a rolling short-term contract. The Mammal Web post is for two years which is the duration of the project funding.


  • Degree in Ecology or Biological Science
  • Experience of designing and conducting surveys and data analysis
  • Experience of camera trapping
  • Project management

Character Traits

  • Interest in conservation and wildlife
  • Passionate
  • Dedicated
  • Resourceful


There is no in-job training for these specific roles but other roles within the Trust including voluntary positions may include training.

Top Tips for Interview

Research what the job entails and get as much experience in the relevant areas as possible.

Top Tips for Doing the Job

  • Organisational skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Ongoing learning


  • Working with wildlife
  • Getting the public involved in science
  • Collecting and analysing data



Working Hours

30 hours per week with some weekend and evening work delivering talks and events.


Travel around the Durham Wildlife Trust area on a regular basis.

Anything Else to Consider?

You will not get rich in financial terms, but doing a job you enjoy will enrich your life.

Why I Love the Job

I get to spend a lot of my time engaging with nature, learning about animals and passing that knowledge on to others.

Dr Kent running a riverside event, and an Otter she photographed on the riverbank

Useful Links

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