Two male volunteers kneeling on the boardwalk on our accessible trail fixing a side board

Volunteering to help the Forest and the environment

31 May 2022
Jonathan Saunders, Volunteer Manager

Volunteers play a significant part in our work; we would not be 23% of the way towards our ambitious vision of creating and conserving a 30,000 acre forest without them. While our volunteers play a critical role in planting our Forest – planting a whopping 55,000 trees in the recent winter season - they also help us grow the Forest in a wide variety of other ways. This Volunteers’ Week, discover six ways that our volunteers are supporting our work and tackling climate change.

Six ways to volunteer and take practical action on climate change 

Practical forestry and biodiversity

Many of our regular volunteers join us on the ground to support our forestry and biodiversity work. With tasks such as removing tree guards, planting trees, maintaining our footpaths, building and removing fence lines, and creating and enhancing habitat, there is always work to do and always new areas of the Forest to manage. We are grateful that we have such a merry band of volunteers happy to get their hands dirty and help get these important jobs completed. 

Surveying and monitoring

We are creating a Forest for wildlife and as woodlands grow they will of course have a significant impact on the species and habitat found within the local area. Monitoring and surveying are vital to help inform our work improving and preserving habitats for wildlife, and we rely on volunteers to undertake much of this work, recording different species of wildlife found in the local landscape and in what numbers. There is so much the humble butterfly can tell us about the health of our woodlands and meadows, and our volunteers are helping us manage the Forest so wildlife can thrive.

A female volunteer standing inbetween trees smiling at the camera

Inspiring others to support our work 

One of the greatest ways to engage the public with our work is to run events in the Forest to educate and inspire visitors. Through large events like our Bluebell Walk, to small, guided walks of the woodlands, our volunteers support our extensive event programme by providing information, managing people and traffic, serving refreshments, and being fantastic Forest ambassadors.

Growing the trees of the future 

To achieve our goal of a 30,000 acre Forest, we will plant 13 million trees – that is a lot of saplings! Fortunately, we have a team of volunteers who give their time to help support our tree nursery. From constructing raised planting beds to watering our saplings over the hot summer, there is always plenty to do to nurture the trees of the future. This coming planting season we are looking forward to our volunteer-grown saplings being planted to create our newest areas of woodland.

Bare root tree saplings in orange bags ready to be planted

Micro volunteering

Did you know that can support our work and the fight against climate change from home? There are always smaller jobs which our volunteers can help with from home in your own time, or through a small, self-guided visit to the Forest. Processing data, writing small articles and social media posts, or even taking photos of plants and animals in the woodlands, our micro volunteers help us with little jobs which have a big impact, allowing them to contribute in ways which fit their time available.

Creating future Forest Guardians 

Creating a meaningful connection with nature is one of the charity’s key aims, and we want to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the Forest and its benefits to the environment, wildlife, and people. A group of specially trained volunteers support our learning and skills team as they deliver Forest Learning Programme sessions across the Forest in partnership with local schools, helping to instil a love and respect for the natural world in our younger generations.

A school pupil sitting writing on a clipboard resting on a tree stump in the Forest with classmates behind

Volunteer with us

There are so many ways to give your time and support the Forest, and the opportunities are growing along with the Forest. With friendly teams of volunteers and staff, plenty of opportunities to learn and develop, and the chance to help fight climate change, why not join us? No experience is necessary, so this is a chance to learn new skills and develop your areas of interest in ways and at times to suit you.

Find out about volunteering in the Forest here.