The professional flower counter

Deborah Land is a Senior Reserves Manager and Responsible Officer for Natural England, but is known to her friends as a “professional flower counter or bogtrotter”. She’s been a Prospect member since 2011.

After graduating from an Environmental Science degree in 1997, Deb worked in various different jobs, including several voluntary roles, before she got her first job as an ecologist in with the consultancy firm Atkins in Warrington.

After spending around 2 years consulting, Deb achieved her dream of working in conservation, and joined English Nature – who later became Natural England.

Her job involves managing nature reserves, and she is responsible for about 20 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. She feels her biggest professional achievement is one restoring one of those sites – Bolton Fell Moss. In a 6 year period, she transformed a peat bog into a National Nature Reserve – helping to stop carbon emissions which are harmful to the environment. By capturing all of the carbon on the site, Deb has helped in the fight against climate change.

Deb was inspired to join a trade union because of the influence of her grandfather, who was a big presence in her life as a child. She feels being in an organisation where people are looking out for workers’ rights, and someone is making sure Debs and her colleagues are looked after is “like having a big brother at work. There’s someone you can go to if you’re not sure about something, there’s always someone on hand if you need some advice or support.”

What do I like most? “A sense of being part of something, feeling that I may be able to help someone else. If ever someone else was in a situation and needed support, I would be able to point them in the right direction.”

Deb has benefitted personally from being in a union throughout her career, citing “fantastic support” through difficult situations in the past.

Being part of a union is similar to being part of a family in the security which it brings, as well as offering help, support and advice.

Since Deborah became a rep, she has been able to get a good knowledge of her employer, and gained good friends within Prospect union.

Deb feels young people should definitely join a union “because politically, young people’s voices are not always heard. We definitely need young people in the union because their voices need to be represented. If they’re in the union, we can make sure the thoughts and feelings and support is there for everybody.”

Her message for other Prospect members? “Union membership is important because we all need it. If you ever need support, you’ll be glad you’re a member. I wouldn’t ever want to be in a situation where I wished I was a member and wasn’t.”

A big brother at work

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