Wirral Ranger Service

Dibbinsdale’s Ranger
Alan Smail is the ranger at Dibbinsdale and can be contacted at the office in the courtyard at Woodslee Cottages on 0151 3349851 or by email on alansmail@wirral.gov.uk

The Role of a Ranger
There are many aspects to the job of the Ranger. However it can be looked at as dealing with the following four main areas of concern.  These areas are all inter-related and interdependent.  In a list form, these are some of the tasks involved in each area:

Nature conservation
Planting trees and shrubs, creating and maintaining habitats for wildlife, dealing with sick and injured animals, feeding birds and encouraging / protecting wildlife.  As the woodland develops the ranger needs to ensure the regeneration of new trees. Sometimes this involves planting and sometimes ensuring the right conditions for this to happen naturally.  The development of ponds and wetlands encourages diversity of wildlife.  Opening up the woodland in certain areas to make glades also encourages more and different wildlife as does the practice of “coppicing” to produce new tree growth.

Leisure and recreation
The Rangers produce an events activities programme in which they outline activities they offer to the public.  Often these relate to the environment.  Guided walks looking at themes of Local History and Wildlife in the nature reserve are part educational and part leisure.

Educational
The Ranger deals with a wide range of educational provision.  Slide talks to adult groups on environment themes and about the reserve, talks to students dealing with countryside management and tourism, secondary school pupils dealing with issues of environmental concern in geography or science, primary school children looking at nature and the local history around them and pre-school children learning basic environmental appreciation and awareness.  The provision of interpretative materials related to this involves local history information, guided walks and trails leaflets, information for noticeboards and newsletters.

Public relations
The Ranger is often asked in to advise upon matters to do with the environment in the broader community- factory and housing developments for instance.
The visitors coming to the park also need the provision of basic services and these need maintaining – toilets and washing facilities, bin and litter collection, first aid and emergency safety, picnic benches and BBQ facility, car parking supervision, advice and information, policing and public order are all undertaken on a day to day basis. The Rangers participate in public safety campaigns, environment initiatives, civic occasions and celebrations like the Countryside Fayre.
The Rangers liaise with many different outside organisations from the local Brownie Pack to Youth Clubs and Wildlife Trusts.  The “Friends of Dibbinsdale” is for example one such group where strong ties are maintained.