Here at the Forest of Marston Vale Trust we often have students completing their work experience with us. Read this fantastic summary of Jasmine's week with us, what she got up too, and what she learnt along the way.

If you are interested in coming to the Forest of Marston Vale for your work experience then please email [email protected] for more information.

Image: A view from the Wetlands at the Millennium Country Park

I have been coming to the Forest of Marston Vale Forest for many years with my family - often going for walks and bike rides around the beautiful park. Nature has always interested me and this passion has followed through to my current studies in Sixth Form, where I study Environmental sciences, Geography and Chemistry. I decided to choose Marston Vale as my work experience placement as although I am familiar with the Forest, I knew very little about the processes and people that go into running the charity and maintaining its vast habitats. Over the week, I learnt from the different teams that work together in creating an area in which both nature and the local community can enjoy. Read on to find out what I got up to...


On my first day, I worked with Robina, the fundraising officer. The tasks I was given ranged from sending emails to businesses for the upcoming Forest Family Fun Day, to researching new fundraising opportunities, to coming up with ideas for my own school fundraising event. The day was a balanced mix of admin and creative tasks, where I had the freedom to explore my ideas. I hadn’t had any office work experience before this - some of the admin tasks were what I had expected (emails, spreadsheets), but the creative side was something that I really enjoyed. I was a little nervous before completing my work experience, not having any experience in a professional workplace before - but the whole team at the Forest were very welcoming and helpful, and they all have a great relationship with each other - showing that office work didn't mean just sitting at a desk in silence!

Image: Jasmine's fantastic hand-drawn ideas for a potential Forest mascot

Communications and marketing

On Tuesday, I worked with Joanna on the Communications team. We took a stroll around the Wetlands Nature Reserve while discussing the team's role in marketing, promoting and advertising the events and activities available at the Forest of Marston Vale. I was given the task to do some designing of posters and website banners to help promote the upcoming Christmas events come wintertime. As someone who enjoys art as a hobby, I loved exploring my ideas and creating my own event promotions. I also worked on some potential mascot ideas, and coming up with design ideas was lots of fun! For the rest of the day, I drafted this blog post, edited a ranger’s blog post, and sat in on an interview with one of the newer team members. It was helpful to learn about how work experience opportunities, such as this, are beneficial in demonstrating how what you are taught in lessons can transition into real-world jobs. 

Community engagement

The next day I worked with Jo, the Community Engagement Office, on the Trees for Climate scheme. We went out to two of the schools in Bedford to check up on the trees that were planted earlier in the year, and to see what percentages had survived. Others in the team also took some drone footage at one of the schools which was really interesting to watch. It is so incredible how nature takes over in ecological succession. Where the areas weren’t mowed to allow the trees to grow, a number of wildflower species have grown on their own, creating even more valuable habitats for the local wildlife species such as bees, butterflies and moths. I also worked on creating descriptions of images in leaflets so that those with sight loss can experience what we see but audio described - it was really interesting to imagine things from a different perspective. 

Image: Visiting the planting scheme at Westfield Primary School in Bedford

The ranger team

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to work with the ranger team who are responsible for maintaining all of the Forest of Marston Vale sites. In the morning I worked with Sven and the volunteers to carry out ragwort pulling in the meadows. We have to pull it out as the meadow is cut and given to horses as food, but ragwort is toxic to the horses so must be removed. It takes a lot of hard work and time to remove the ragwort, it was especially difficult in the summer heat, but rewarding to see the result once it was all removed. In the afternoon, I did a butterfly survey with Lottie within the forest. It was fascinating to encounter all the different butterfly species, although admittedly I wasn’t great at identifying which species they were! The Gatekeeper butterflies were thriving - there were so many of them there was no more room on the sheet! I will be working on this skill in my own time as I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. 

On my last day, I joined the Rangers again and accompanied Nicola for site checks across several sites. The site checks involved checking the wooden structures, cutting back intruding branches, and noting down any areas that need attention. However, sadly we also came across some graffiti and litter that needed our attention to clean up. It was amazing to see how the trees planted years ago had grown into beautiful woodland! Later in the afternoon, we took a ride in the Kabota to go around the Millennium Country Park and take care of some of the on-site signs. 

My work experience at the Forest of Marston Vale was an absolute delight - an exciting new venture into the 9-to-5 world, and though admittedly tiring, the rewards were incredibly fulfilling! I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such meaningful work, alongside an amazing team. This experience has been an eye-opener, and my time at the Forest of Marston Vale has solidified my passion for Environmental Sciences, motivating me to continue pursuing this field of study into the future. 

Written by Jasmine Rosher

Image: A meadow brown butterfly, one of the native species recorded at the butterfly survey

If you are interested in coming to the Forest of Marston Vale for your work experience then please email [email protected] for more information.