Whittlesey wildlife fanatic up for YOPEY volunteering award

Whittlesey frog-lover Ashlea Jarvis in YOPEY final.

Whittlesey frog-lover Ashlea Jarvis in YOPEY final. - Credit: Archant

A wildlife fanatic is up for a prestigious Cambridgeshire award which celebrates young volunteers.

Ashlea Jarvis, 25, of Mill Road, Whittlesey, is in the final of the Ferrier Pearce Young People of the Year, which takes place on October 23.

The former Sir Harry Smith Community College student has volunteered with Froglife, a charity for the conservation of amphibians and reptiles, for two and a half years.

Before she started with the charity she was not in education, employment or training.

She said: “I had been to the Jobcentre to sign on when I saw the Froglife display.

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“I was always looking for work but everyone seemed to be going for the same job.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left college. I did a media course but the thought of being in an office for eight hours a day would have driven me mad.

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“I love being outside and getting my hands dirty.”

Ms Jarvis was put forward for the award by Laura Brady, Wildlife Ambassadors project officer.

She said: “Over the past two-and-a-half years Ash has continued to be my most valued volunteer.

“Not only does she attend a high proportion of my sessions, working with disadvantaged people, she also volunteered for the My Wild Life Project working with primary school children and elderly people.”

Ms Jarvis’ first job was taking part in a nature survey. She counted the newts, cleared scrub, managed the pond and welcomed organised visits.

She also volunteered for the My Wildlife Project which brings together people of all ages and backgrounds to share stories about nature and countryside.

Ms Jarvis went on a five-day course to learn about communicating with the groups involved.

She said: “I can now stand up in front of a room full of people . I recently had to do a speech to the deputy mayor and councillors and was a bit nervous but I did it.”

Being a volunteer has boosted her confidence to the extent that she has found a full-time job in a garden centre.

But she will continue to volunteer for Froglife.

A spokesman for Ferrier Pearce said: “From a shy girl Ash has really grown and her confidence and love of the work Froglife is doing is now passed on to visitors of all ages and backgrounds.”

In addition to Fenstanton-based Ferrier Pearce, this year’s Cambs YOPEY is supported by, among others, Hutchinsons crop production specialists of Wisbech, Peterborough City Council, Chatteris firms ALS, Ely businesses, The Micron Group and G¹s, Wisbech-based Kier and Waldeck consulting engineers.

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