Volunteers are vital to the work of large environmental charities like the Woodland Trust. Surprisingly though, most of what they do is not tree-planting or tree care. The range of volunteer opportunities is vast, from: fund-raising; taking part in one-off tree planting event; joining a regular work party that cares for a particular woodland; serving as a voluntary warden; assessing local climate change; searching out ancient trees, through to becoming a voluntary speaker, guide or photographer.
In 2007 more than 530,000 people gave over 240,000 hours of volunteer time which adds up to over £1.9 million of value to the work of the charity. To celebrate this, The Woodland Trust runs an annual volunteer award scheme that recognises this contribution.
How The Woodland Trust Works With Volunteers
The Woodland Trust commits to giving its volunteers an established support framework; tasks they are capable of that are clearly defined with a key contact for the task; reimbursement of expenses at appropriate rates where possible and pre-agreed; equality of opportunity within the Trust; safe working conditions.
Like many environmental organisations, The Woodland Trust has a remote working system that relies on the telephone and email to coordinate independent voluntary activity. The three most common voluntary roles are giving talks about the work of the trust, leading guided walks and work party attendance.
Responsibilities Of Volunteers
The Woodland Trust asks its volunteers to: help to achieve its aims and objectives; be reliable whenever possible; raise problems or issues immediately with their key contact or another appropriate person; be respectful of the confidentiality, equal opportunities and health and safety policies of the Trust; attend relevant training and encourages them to ensure their volunteering is enjoyable and rewarding.
Taking Part In A Work Party
Volunteers may, depending on the season, plant or mulch trees, check previously planted areas to ensure they have been planted and mulched correctly and ‘gap up’ which means filling in areas where saplings have failed to thrive. Such work parties will usually take place between October and March. To be a work party volunteer you have to have some outdoor working experience, and to be willing to take care for your health and safety and that of others and to understand and commit to the Woodland Trust’s woodland management principles. Obviously the Trust requires that volunteers wear suitable clothing, take sensible precautions to ensure their own wellbeing and behave responsibly in woodland.
Working parties normally run from around 10:00 to around 15:00 with a break for lunch, which may be provided or which volunteers may bring with them, depending on the woodland in which the party is working. Parking may be some distance from the woodland area being worked on, and some work parties have a shared car or minibus system in operation to reduce the carbon footprint of the Trust.
Acting as a Woodland Trust speaker involves talking to groups about the work of the Trust. It’s a varied role that can include prison visits, school assemblies, Women’s Institute meetings, or giving short talks to various business, sporting and social clubs. In all cases the Trust can help provide materials for the talk, and give assistance in how to answer questions at the end of the talk.
The Woodland Trust has a number of administrative roles filled by volunteers, ranging from collating the results of woodland surveys through to acting as a coordinator for volunteers or being involved in fundraising programmes. These roles are usually undertaken at home and may be more suitable for those who circumstances or mobility prevent them taking a more active part in the work of the Trust.
Hi, I live in middletown Welshpool recently moved into the area and looking for some outdoor/ woodland /garden volunteering opportunities. Have time on my hands now I have retired. Would enjoy conservation work, anything outdoors. Please advise who I could contact.
kath - 21-Mar-23 @ 1:44 PM
Hi I'm 32 & interested in Knowing where by in West Yorkshire I can possibly volunteer. I live in Horsforth side of Leeds
Saunders 1 - 19-Apr-22 @ 11:02 AM
I am interested in becoming a volunteer in the North East.Could you advise me where the closest site would be, so that I can join in.
Angel - 17-Jan-21 @ 9:17 AM
My son is interested in volunteering for his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. He is 14 and I'd like to volunteer with him. We live in South Warrington.
Tim - 11-Jan-20 @ 1:24 PM
Interested in volunteering for woodland projects, e.g. tree planting, coppicing, care and maintain ace etc.
Dave - 5-Jan-20 @ 7:02 PM
I was interested in volunteering in woodland activities. I live in the West Oxfordshire area. Could you let me know were the closest place is that i could volunteer.?
Rob - 28-Nov-19 @ 8:14 PM
Hi, having heard a talk by Susan Davies at our local Natural History Society I am interested in understanding what volunteer opportunities you have. I live in West Susse
Christian - 12-Jun-19 @ 8:59 AM
I was interested in volunteering in woodland activities. I live in the St Helens area. Was just wondering were the closest place that i could volunteer.?
Dave - 19-May-19 @ 3:28 PM
I would be interested in volunteering in the Merseyside area.
I love being outdoors especially in the rain, so there would be no problem with working outside in any weather.
Scott - 18-Feb-19 @ 10:48 AM
We have a community wood called Thistle hill ME123 GY
I have not been able to contact Swale Boro council regarding its management
I feel it would improve if some of the brambles were removed as well as the bags of dogs doos . Is there a working party for this wood . (its a new wood , planted about 20 years ago
ian - 12-Feb-19 @ 8:35 PM
Hello I'm interested in volunteering in the Portsmouth area.
Bob - 17-Dec-18 @ 5:30 PM
I have done some woodland work in the past (assisting with teh coppicing process, sawing up wood, splitting logs etc) and would love to do some more. I live in Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Can you tell me about opportunities? Thanks
Ian ROGERS - 3-Feb-18 @ 3:46 PM
I would like to know more about admin volunteers from home. Thank you.