What to expect as a BNN Committee member by Sarah Watt

“If I could continue my role as events secretary on the Bristol Nature network committee from overseas, I would not be reluctantly writing this ‘farewell’ blog. However, as reluctant as I am, I am also excited to hand over this role to the next member, as I know they will be joining a network of friends who all share such an enthusiasm for Bristol, its wildlife and community (and I better mention a shared enthusiasm for the occasional social gathering and some good wining and dining).

So let’s get to it; What to expect as the events secretary on the Bristol Nature Network…

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of networking! I have been very fortunate to connect with a range of professionals, students and members of the public who have introduced me to areas of nature and conservation I would have never come across. Take for example a talk I organised with Will Lawson on biomimicry and the renowned Sir Ian Redmond introducing us to vEcotourism.  Following on from from Ians talk there are now students and early careers starters who are helping with this project and gaining valuable work experience. Which is what the nature network is all about, connecting bristols young(ish) people with nature and conservation, be it work, volunteering or meeting new like-minded friends! Also, for myself it was motivating to be surrounded by such people and learning about their individual paths into such careers. And I must add, it’s always good to invite the younger generation of professionals to share their stories, as its often relevant now to how competitive the conservation industry is today.

Being organised because you organise events!..

I am not talking strict organisation skills, but the chances are you will be carrying out this role alongside a course of study or work. And believe me it’s so easy to get ahead of yourself and want to fill the calendar up with talks, walks, ID days and socials! So you will probably need a BNN diary and checklist! The amount of times we got caught up with ‘technical glitches’ at our talks because it was assumed all projectors would take MAC leads! Also the committee meetings, these are not only fun but important for catching up with what everyone else is doing and designating tasks to help you with your event! So make sure you can attend the majority of these, we often get carried away with ideas and have to pull ourselves away from our cosy table in the Landover Trow! Also be flexible and give your self lots of time for planning events and a back up plan!  It’s not uncommon for venues to change plans or close down last minute or for guest speakers to change the date and time of thier talk. So you do need some weekends and evenings free to allow for all the fun events the BNN host.

Being recognised! I am not talking David Attenborough status but it is really rewarding to be known as part of the Bristol Nature Network. There is still a long way to go but the BNN has developed steadily (800+ members and counting) over the 18 months and you will get a sense of pride knowing that your part of this development. Each event, social, volunteering opportunity, it all contributes to the BNN achieving its goals and as a committee member you will play a big part in this! For myself, one of the reasons I joined the BNN was to develop my career opportunities and I feel that I have been able to apply for a wider range of jobs and volunteer positions since having this valuable asset on my CV.

This also leads me onto self-development. If someone told me last year that I would be helping out on a radio show talking reporting on international and national news I would have shyed away from the idea. But now I sit down every Wednesday and join my fellow radio bloggers and chat away on the mic!  My point – this opportunity came from the Bristol Nature Network as so did my confidence to fulfil it! I am not saying people aprroach you with work just because your on the committee but you do open doors for yourself with all the influx of knowledge and experience you get from this position and people around you.

I could go on but if you have any questions pop me an email or pm my facebook!

Good luck to everyone who wishes to apply for this position ( its very informal application might I add so don’t shy away). Most of all enjoy it, have fun, be creative and know that you will be meeting some great friends in your fellow committee members; Maddy, Jen, Joe, Gemma, Beth, Sophie, Rosa, Saran, Matt and Helen – thanks for the past 18 months you have all been amazing!!”

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