Paul’s experience with The Conservation Volunteer’s Biodiversity Action Team
In my 50s I had a demanding job which meant I was indoors a lot of the time. So I joined The Conservation Volunteers one day a week for tasks around Chelmsford for time outdoors; physical activity; and new company.
All this I got in spade fulls. Each week I went out with four to six others, who were varied in age and outlook. We visited sites around Chelmsford where we cared for green spaces that are used by people living nearby in their daily life.
In Danbury we removed invasive weed from the pond and in Southminster we cleared scrub and planted trees in the Community Orchard. At Broomfield Hospital we constructed a long foot path through the woods and elsewhere we coppiced trees, built boardwalks and cared for grasslands.
The minibus would collect me from Chelmsford Station or I would meet the team on site. I had to take a packed lunch but hot drinks and biscuits were provided for tea break and lunch, when the social side of the task would mean a chance to chat and catch up. The leader was experienced in the work we were doing and the environment so I got plenty of chances to learn.
After a while I retired from paid work and was able to spend more time caring for our green spaces. I also was able to keep my old skills going by becoming a volunteer officer and leading groups on tasks. I went on training courses and was given ample support from the full time workers, so I could use old skills like lighting bonfires and leading teams, and develop new skills in managing habitat.
To view current volunteering roles with The Conservation Volunteers click on the links below: