Not tried conservation volunteering? Here’s your chance.

© Matthew Roberts

Here at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust we rely heavily upon volunteers to help care for our nature reserves and to carry out many aspects of our wider work, but we are very aware that there are some barriers that prevent people getting involved.

The principle barrier is time, or more to the point, lack of it. To counter this, we run a range of volunteer sessions on both weekdays and at weekends. When it comes to helping out on our nature reserves there’s also no minimum level of time commitment - once you’ve registered you can just come along to the sessions when you’re free.  

Another, possibly more problematic, barrier is a lack of understanding of what the work involves and an assumption that people make that they won’t have the necessary skills to help make a difference. In the past we’ve made this barrier worse by using technical management terms when advertising volunteering opportunities. Terms such as coppicing, a traditional form of woodland management, are not common knowledge and more general terms such as ‘conservation work day’ are so vague as to mean very little. Both make it hard for people to assess whether they have the necessary skills to help.  

We now make a real effort to make it clear that anyone who’s fit and able enough to do some gardening tasks such as pruning, digging and raking will be well placed to lend a hand on our nature reserves - but we still need to do more to make volunteering easier to get involved with.  

Over the past few months we’ve been overhauling our volunteer programme and we’ve now streamlined the registration process. We’ve also committed to it running a number of ‘have a go’ sessions where people can just turn up with no need for pre-applications or registration. By being clearer about the skills and help we need and by making it easier to get involved we hope that we can engage a whole new army of volunteers to work alongside the hundreds who already help us promote and protect the county’s wildlife. 

Come and 'have a go' at our largest nature reserve.

Our next ‘have a go’ sessions will take place at our Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford on Sunday 28th October. We need volunteers to help with clearing some areas of overgrown willow trees as part of a long-term plan to improve the natural play area at the reserve. We will be running three one hour sessions and more details can be found on the reserve's Facebook at www.facebook.com/IdleValleyNatureReserve

Join us and have a go!

The sessions form part of our Autumn Fair, so once you’ve done your bit you can have a look around this amazing wetland nature reserves, join a guided walk or enjoy some seasonal refreshment in the centre – why not come and have a go? The Autumn Fair will run from 11am-3pm . Further details of volunteering opportunities with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust can be found at www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/get-involved