Join Our Army of Volunteers - Wildlife Needs You!

Monday 10th October 2016

Join Our Army of Volunteers!Wildlife Needs You!

Fun, friendship, fitness and finding hidden talents – volunteering for wildlife has so much to offer. And now Surrey Wildlife Trust is on the hunt for new recruits to join its small army of volunteers.

The rangers always make you feel welcome and appreciated...

 

The Trust has 120 paid staff, but its ranks are swelled by nearly 2,000 volunteers, who provide almost 10,000 extra ‘people days’ every year. From teenagers to people in their 80s, all give up their time, skills and energy for free – but they get so much in return too.

“Our enthusiastic practical conservation volunteers help us carry out wildlife surveys, clear ponds and paths, look after our grazing cattle, thin woodland, remove invasive plant species and lots more,” said Claire Courtier, the Trust’s Volunteer Development Officer.


Volunteers have been at the heart of some fantastic success stories for wildlife in Surrey – they’ve helped restore vital habitat on Chobham Common, which now boasts a promising breeding population of Nightjars and even the rare Dartford Warbler. In the rivers, the Trust’s volunteers have been working hard on the Wey and Mole to restore and improve habitats for fish and reduce pollutants.


“We simply couldn’t manage without them – they make a massive difference to the work we’re able to carry out to help wildlife in Surrey,” said Claire. “But our volunteers gain so much from working with us too and we’d love to see some new faces!”


Research by the WRVS showed that people who had donated their time to a good cause showed lower rates of depression later in life. Working outside also has lots of health benefits - regular exercise in the fresh air is a lot cheaper than the gym! But donating your experience and skills helps you develop in other ways too.


Sheila Coles, from Woking, signed up to help the Trust when she retired in 2010: “You don’t have to turn up every week or commit to regular days - you can fit it in around your life. But every time you come, the rangers always make you feel welcome and appreciated,” she said.

When Caroline Hayes moved from London to Surrey she decided to join one of the Trust’s work parties: “As soon as I started I was almost addicted,” she said. “The variety of work is great – it’s not all heavy lifting – the people are lovely and I’m learning all the time.”

Victoria Huth, from Camberley, hopes that volunteering will lead to a new career: “I studied geography at university, but found it hard to escape a desk job. Then I became a volunteer trainee ranger with Surrey Wildlife Trust and things began to change. I’m learning so much!

“There’s such a range of characters, which leads to lots of banter. And the more fun we have, the more we get done.”


Our volunteers tell us that working with the Trust strengthens social bonds – and makes you smile. And while you don’t have to be super strong to be a volunteer, Sheila Coles has one word of warning: “It’s probably best if you’re not precious about the state of your fingernails!”


If you would like to help protect Surrey’s wildlife as a Wildlife Trust volunteer click here 
 

Tagged with: Fundraising, Living Landscapes, Membership, Outdoor learning, Volunteering