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Get involved in practical conservation

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Tamsin Bent, Posted: Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 08:00

There are many ways in which we can reduce our impact on the environment. Most of our day to day decisions involve choices that affect what goes on around us – from our choice of whether to walk to work, to the food we eat. However, alongside these decisions there is something practical that all of us can do and that is to volunteer for an environmental or wildlife organisation.

Many wildlife organisations rely on volunteers
Thousands of people volunteer for nature every year, some with large national organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts, which have more than 43,000 volunteers throughout the country, down to small independent local organisations like Stroud Valleys Project. Most organisations couldn’t carry out much of their vital wildlife work if it wasn’t for the input from volunteers. For example, the RSPB has nine volunteers for every paid member of staff.

Volunteering offers a whole range of activities to suit your tastes. There are opportunities to help out behind the scenes in areas such as data handling or helping out in visitor centres. There are also great opportunities to get outside and get your hands dirty by helping manage local green spaces such as nature reserves or urban parks for both people and wildlife.

Start with straight forward tasks like litter picking
You can start with straight forward tasks like litter picking or removing invasive species like Himalayan Balsam, which clogs up our waterways. Or you could help restore habitats like ponds, which provide important places for endangered species such as Great Crested Newts, while also helping reduce flooding.

Volunteering brings communities together
Why not learn how to make bird and bat boxes or build otter holts? Or turn your hand to learning traditional skills such as coppicing, which creates great habitats for wildlife while providing a constant supply of sustainable wood. And you could even unleash your inner Poldark and learn how to scythe, which helps retain wildflower meadows that can be damaged by normal, regular mowing.

Finally, volunteering is a brilliant way of not only practically helping the environment, but also helping keep you fit, reducing your stress levels and bringing communities together. So, this summer, why not give it a go?

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