SNH people – Alison Matheson

In the first of our series of posts highlighting the great variety of work people do within SNH, Alison Matheson, Policy and Advice Officer, based in our Inverness office, tells us about her job.

Photo of Alison Matheson

Why did you want to work for SNH and what was your previous experience? 

Before I worked for SNH I was a Countryside Ranger in the Pentland Hills Regional Park which is just south of Edinburgh.  That was quite a long time ago!  I chose to move to SNH to broaden my experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of different roles in SNH.

What are the main aspects of your work? 

My current role, in our People and Places Unit, is all about getting more people outdoors to enjoy Scotland’s nature.  My role is quite varied and includes overseeing volunteering in SNH, working on ranger service matters – hopefully spreading the word about how great ranger services are, helping to implement a new path grading system for Scotland, and contributing to our equality, diversity and social inclusion work.

What’s the best thing about your job? 

Knowing that more people are getting outdoors, enjoying nature and benefitting their health, as a result of what we do.  One project that SNH is currently grant aiding, the Backbone Community Leadership project, is a wonderful example of this.  The community leaders are trained and then use that training to have confidence to take their communities outdoors – perhaps walking or cycling.  I was lucky enough to meet the community leaders recently at one of their training weekends – they are inspirational.  Some of them have been encouraging members of their community to learn to cycle for the first time – what a life changing activity that has turned out to be.

Eider Ducks resting at Sands of Forvie NNR.

Eider Ducks resting at Sands of Forvie NNR. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Where is your favourite place to get out and about in Scotland? 

That is a tricky question – we are spoiled for choice in Scotland.  It could be at the top of one of our highest mountains – up there, on a fine day, you feel on top of the world.  But I think I’ll opt for Forvie National Nature Reserve – I was the Reserve Manager there for a number of years and it remains very dear to my heart.  Take a visit there to hear the eider ducks calling and be inspired.

To find out about visiting Forvie NNR look at the website.



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