Volunteering for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

I recently became a volunteer for the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to do Habitat Management and Sunday was my first day on the the reserve. I was a little nervous because I didn't really know what to expect but mostly I was really excited. It is something I wanted to do for various reasons; to get outdoors and active because I sit in an office Monday to Friday, I love being out in the countryside (especially woodland) and have always loved seeing wildlife so for me I get great satisfaction to know I'm helping to conserve our countryside and I also want to learn new skills - I've not done this type of work before and as much as I love wildlife I actually don't have that much knowledge or understanding of it.

After the paperwork, safety and introductions had all been gone through we got straight to work. Storm Doris had wreaked havoc on some of the trees, uprooting a few so our first task was to do a walk round and make sure the woodland trail was clear and safe. This for me, meant using a saw for the first time but the group leader was brilliant with me and clearly went through everything - how to effectively use the saw, what to look out for and why it was important we were doing this. Even though it was with help I was proud of myself for being able to do it and pleased I'd already started to learn new skills. 

In the woods - this is the first tree I helped to clear which had been blocking the trail (I didn't get a before photo because I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing to think about photos so I walked back round after!)

On the walk round between trees I began to learn what to look out for and also got to talk with the volunteers, everybody was lovely and whilst I hadn't joined with the intent of meeting new people it was an aspect I really enjoyed because everybody was so kind and I really enjoyed the teamwork involved in what we were doing. The group leader was great, not only at teaching me what is directly involved in my role, but also introducing me to the wildlife. We saw a variety of birds and you could tell he not only has a vast amount of knowledge but really cares about what he does. The walk around was also a good introduction for me because I hadn't been to that particular place before so it was useful for me to orientate myself and get a feel for the place and I actually can't believe I've never been before, it is a beautiful area and I will be going back there walking as well as volunteering.

After a tea break we got going on another area of the woods, where I was introduced to some different tasks and again it was lovely to see everybody getting involved and to be able to help. I was shown all the way along what to do and why we were doing it (which I found really interesting) and got more insight to the local animals including owls, badgers and bats. 

Everybody made me feel really welcome and I was helped and supported the entire time we were there which on top of getting out and active and learning about something I care about meant I thoroughly enjoyed my day and I consider myself a permanent volunteer of the WWT. From what I got talking to the group there is so much more to learn and so many changes to the forest throughout the year (such as nesting birds and bluebell season) which I'm really excited that I get to see and learn about.

Volunteering tip: if you fancy volunteering for your local Wildlife Trust make sure you have a look online at the different volunteering opportunities to see what suits you and if you do decide to go for it make sure you contact the relevant person listed so you can get the paperwork started before you arrive.

Dawn x

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