Why I Volunteer for the Water of leith Conservation Trust
This morning I walked along the Water of Leith in Colinton and Craiglockart Dells. I picked a fair amount of litter, made notes on the species of birds (over 21 species!) and butterflies (three species) I saw and kept an eye out for any fallen trees or pollution incidents. I also really enjoyed the beautiful spring weather and the air full of birdsong and the magical sound of a woodpecker drumming.
I’ve done this every week for the past three years or so as a patrol volunteer for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. Each stretch of the river has at least one patrol volunteer who tries to visit their patch every week. We also meet up regularly at the trust’s visitor centre to talk about the issues facing the river.
There are other opportunities to get involved as a volunteer with the trust. I’ve gone along to some of the wildflower planting days, which are hard work but sociable – and it’s lovely to be planting seeds and plants knowing that they will add a splash of colour and some good biodiversity to the area! You can also go along to the River Clean Ups. These can be very hard work and involve running down steep slopes and wading in the water, as well as picking up heavy items of rubbish! The feeling of achievement afterwards is brilliant though! If you prefer your great outdoors to be a bit more at arms length you can sign up as an office volunteer either joining the rota to staff the reception desk or helping with other administrative tasks in the office.
The Trust treat volunteers very well, I’ve always felt that we’re given the right balance of responsibility and support, and are encouraged to get more involved if we want to! One of the extra things I’ve taken on since becoming a volunteer is to manage the trust’s Twitter stream! I’ve also been able to use my bird and flower identification skills to help the trust record the wildlife in the area.
I try to get out into green areas in and around Edinburgh every weekend but its great to have a local area that I visit regularly where I can see all the seasonal changes that are happening. The trust also offers a lot of opportunities for corporate volunteering, but I think I’ll do a separate post on that at a later date.
If you want to stay in touch with nature, conservation volunteering is definitely one of the best ways of doing it! If you’re involved in conservation volunteering, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section!
As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more!