Tales from Gazen Salts

From Quarter Mastering to Mastering Quarters!

Season 2

See Here for Season One of Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve Directory

We have huge piles of wood ranging from old weathered logs, to planks and poles to telegraphs poles to even train sleepers – they all need to either have a home or be sold to a home that needs them more!

I wrote briefly about new roles l have been awarded and taken on board concerning Gazen Salts in a few published posts previous to today’s episode of TFGS by the charities committee.

Whilst l am waiting to become a part-time Warden to the reserve [something l don’t think will happen for me], l have been promoted to various roles.

It’s a new move by the committee, which is to award more responsibility and accountability to those interested in becoming either trustees or committee members sometime in the future.

Trustees share a role in running the responsibility and management of a charity, whilst a committee member sits in on meetings and works with agendas and ways to improve the overall efficiency of the administration’s effectiveness. A warden cannot be a trustee but can be a committee member.

I have been a volunteer with Gazen Salts Nature Reserve since June 2021 and have been aware of the reserve since they started repairing and recovering the grounds in October 2020. I am very keen on our projects, but I have wanted to be involved deeper for about a year.

The warden’s position became vacant a few months back due to insufficient funding to pay for a full-time 40-hours-a-week warden. Although part-time work of between 14-20 hours a week was available, it was withdrawn when the charity realised that perhaps they didn’t have the funding to cover that role.

So the post of warden has become a little dormant, and the reserve, with the loss of a full-time warden, is now heavily reliant upon volunteers and the committee members.

Making matters marginally worse is that most of our volunteers are retired and elderly. In their mid 60’s to later 70s, they are giving their free time up to help the reserve out, which can be taxing, especially when the weather is poorer, like the winter or wetter months. As you might expect, this means that, on occasion, attendance is sometimes slimmer than in the summer and spring months.

Now don’t get me wrong, these volunteers are a tough breed. They can outstrip many youngsters regarding their workload and efficiency, and they work bloody hard. But as they are retired and have a life and families outside of the charity, they don’t have to be there every week, and many a time, come the colder seasons. They’re not.

Lower volunteer numbers mean that the charity then looks to people keen to offer more help and loan their expertise and skill sets where they can make the most impact.

I am one of those people; l have worked in eclectic and diverse career fields, and l have a lot of experience l can gift and donate freely. In addition, whilst not a skill set ‘per se’, l am on the spectrum with autism, which brings specific attributes with it.

I am, at times, spookily systematic, challenge-motivated and highly organised, with very keen attention to detail behavioural patterns. It was this, next to my need for more efficiency with the building, that landed me the role of quartermaster. A role l truly relish! But it is a challenge as well.

The building had not been tidied up since 2003, so for nearly twenty years, it has been left to gather dirt and dust and had tools donated and overbought, and not maintained, and they, in turn, have gone unseen, been left to rot or forgotten about and corroded by rust or misuse.

Despite being a highly functional bit of kit by itself and frequently used, the building was abandoned by most warden and administrators that chanced upon it. In simpler terms, too many people were too lazy to change it, keep it clean and maintain it, so it has become a huge eyesore.

An eyesore to some, a challenge to me.

It’s more than just the building that needs sorting. The wood sheds and stacks are also the space next to the building. The clean-up there will follow the overhaul of the equipment building. I need to slim the contents of the Nissan Hut down by 55% and endeavour to make sales on at least half that percentage. If successful, that will bring a healthy profit to the charity.

The space next door to the building is a vast plot of land by itself that, again, has yet to be kept tidy by anyone working with Gazen Salts, and as you can see in the gallery above, there are a lot of materials that need addressing. I know l can sort all of this out, although l will need to enlist the help of the volunteers who may be more willing to assist, especially if they are not working in the asbestos building as l am.

We can sell off 60% of our materials here, which could also make us a tidy profit, especially in today’s market.

I attend to my responsibilities very seriously, and the role of quartermaster for the charity is no different to the position of the dedicated composter. I don’t do things by half-measure.

In addition to my quartermaster duties which as a role will take off once l have the building running in an orderly and efficient fashion. I am also in charge of the Information Board, which you have occasionally seen in some of the photographs of the reserve itself.

For the last fifteen months, l have suggested utilising the information board more to our advantage. Not once did anyone do anything. My philosophy is direct – don’t open your mouth pointlessly unless you are willing to say something worthwhile. So l volunteered my services. I used to be a window merchandiser as well as l have worked with marketing, advertising and promotions. It’s time to start making an impact with our board.

I know from the time l worked the cameras to the time l have walked past the board itself to volunteers days, how many people stop by our boards to see if there are any stories, change of photographs and so on. They often walk away sighing because nothing is different – that’s going to change this coming month!

I have my work cut out for me once more, but hey, nothing’s worth doing unless it’s done well.

The notice board above has had this layout since January 2018 with only two recent changes. The map was added by Mike in March 2021 and the formal notice was added in February 2022. The photos as lovely as they are are now all faded. Whilst it awards some information it doesn’t really relay a true image of the reserve.

It will under my management. My plan is to quarter impact it marketing wise, that should make for a much fuller experience when reading the board itself. Keeping it freshly updated monthly will also aid the reserve encouraging more people to volunteer and ultimately lead to donations.

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is about my time and stories of my voluntary work with this project.

I’ll see you next episode. Thanks for reading.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Sandwich, Kent, England, UK

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

26 thoughts on “Tales from Gazen Salts

      1. A little. Their problem rests in thinking that the role they have available will appear to a David Attenborough type of person who also has a chain saw licence, knows social media and advertising and has experience working with people, wants to work 7 days a week, for £10 an hours [just over $11 an hour at exchange rate] for three hours a day with no fixed contract or benefits, the list of what they want and what little they offer in return is huge.

        Very few young people are willing to take those terms on board during our climate and a student would really struggle especially if they don’t live in Sandwich.

        ……. those skills sets come usually with an older person, not someone in their early to mid twenties.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well they might if they get no offers, it’s hard to say. Personally, l think that maybe they should hold fire till we know our financial position is more stable. The last meeting l attended didn’t look overly promising.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s exactly the way it is Betty as l see for you too and l would have expected it to be. The problem with so many people is they don’t know how to pace themselves, or challenge themselves and so they rely upon others to set their pace and whilst they may work for the crowd, it does nothing for individuals 🙂


      2. Oh yes, I remember during my earliest years wondering why people used someone else’s standards rather than their own, Rory. That question ran the gamut from everyday activities and behavior to morals and religion. Like you, I always wanted to do my best for my own satisfaction and found it difficult to understand why others did not. But now, I find myself just accepting that people are different and that’s a good thing, or we would all find life very boring. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Eugenia, l am a hard worker, but that’s not the problem. They seem to want to get a lot for not a lot of money. That doesn’t bother me – but their expectations of what they think their money will cover is massive in comparison to what they offer back.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly they are Eugenia, which is why ‘sure’ it would be great to be a warden, however they take their time and at other times they don’t understand the power of branding in an awkward climate which is why l have taken additional responsibilities on to show them my worth and if that fails and l only make a position of Trustee it adds value to my own credentials.

        Liked by 1 person

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