#FromHigherEdToHired - Kate Denner - BSc (Hons) Environmental Conservation - Down to Earth Project

27.07.2016

Kate Denner graduated from BSc (Hons) Environmental Conservation and is now working for not-for-profit organisation called ‘Down to Earth Project. 

"It’s about learning by doing, working with disadvantaged and disaffected young people and adults so that they can achieve accreditation through traditional skills and adventure activities."

kate-denner-environmental-conservation

Why did you choose Environmental Conservation?

It was something I was interested in originally. I went to school in the United States and studied Natural Resource Management. I’ve always been interested in the natural world. 

What was the best thing about the programme?

I loved our tutors, for me they were always available, you could ask questions, they gave good direction. They put me forward for publications twice, so opportunities like that. The class sizes weren’t huge, you weren’t just a number. It was also the other students on the course.

We spent a lot of time doing practical activities out on Gower. It’s an absolutely wonderful location, the sort of environment you take advantage of.

Tell me about your job.

I work for a not-for-profit organisation called ‘Down to Earth Project’. I started volunteering for them in the first year that I started my degree and then, four years ago, I got taken on on a part-time basis and three years ago, full-time. 

It’s about learning by doing, working with disadvantaged and disaffected young people and adults so that they can achieve accreditation through traditional skills and adventure activities. So it’s about building and restoring self-esteem and self-confidence so that they can go on to become an active part of the community. So they can go on to volunteer opportunities, work opportunities. 

Groups such as drug and alcohol addicts, looked-after children, we are currently working with dramatic brain injury patients.

There is a lot of diversity within the company, a lot of different programmes and activities offered – but the core, main line is learning about sustainability by actually practically doing it. 

We do a lot of sustainable building, earth building with cob and timber-framed structures. 

It’s a wonderful job. It’s a lot of fun, wonderful people work there, with wonderful people in the community. The community builds with us. We just built a new training centre on Cefn Bryn and it’s one of a kind, there is no place like it in the UK. The people on our programmes built it so they are learning the skills on how to do natural building while they are on the programme. It’s a good opportunity for them, as well as, us. 

What advice would you offer someone interested in Environmental Conservation?  

Yes, I’d go for it if you have that passion for the environment, if it is something that you’re interested in. 

It’s something I thought I knew a lot about coming into the course, especially as I am a mature student. I thought I had that knowledge and that experience behind me. But I realised there was so much that I didn't know, there was so much that I learned on the course. 

You would be able to apply it in all different areas, so I would say that if you have that interest in the natural world, you want to make that difference, definitely take the course − it would be so worth it. The staff here are wonderful and the environment, the location, you couldn't do better.