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How to Get Involved with the British Countryside

Preserving the British countryside in its natural state ironically requires quite a lot of managing!

Invasive plants may strangle whole areas of native vegetation, thick weed can starve pond life of oxygen and litter can injure or even kill unsuspecting wildlife.

To keep our countryside thriving, beautiful and in its natural state takes quite a lot of man hours.

Undergrowth Clearing By Volunteers (c) Liz Burke via Wikimedia Commons
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Many conservation charities depend upon volunteers to give their time and energy in order to keep the environment unspoilt, giving wildlife the very best chance of survival as we encroach upon their natural habitat.

Lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors may dream of getting a job in these sectors, and the best way to make a good impression on your CV is by volunteering in your spare time.

Getting involved practically demonstrates your genuine commitment to the cause of conservation and wildlife as well as providing practical experience.

There are plenty of opportunities to make a positive difference by volunteering.

By getting involved you will meet new like-minded friends and reap the reward of that glow of satisfaction that comes from knowing you have helped make a difference.

What Volunteering May Involve

Habitat management, clearing and maintaining footpaths, building dry stone walls or carrying out wildlife surveys are invaluable to charities such as the North Wales Wildlife Trust.

In the northwest, Groundwork Oldham runs a Volunteer Placement Assistant Programme which has helped many graduates get into full time employment in conservation.

There are around 60 volunteer VPA posts available and each placement lasts for six months. They provide invaluable practical training and opportunities to shoulder responsibility, which makes a good impression on any potential employer.

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV - formerly the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers BTCV) is a similar charity that reclaims green spaces, such as allotments, and facilitates conservation of the environment through practical projects all over the UK. It has 767 staff and a massive family of 628, 000 volunteers!

Singleton Environment Centre BTCV Kent ((c) Angus Willson via Wikimedia Commons
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Its aims are to provide opportunities for people to improve their lives and the places around them; to promote activities that combat climate change and to deliver social and environmental equality.

Projects include working in community gardens, maintaining nature reserves and parks, growing food, planting trees, managing woodland and building projects.

As well as increasing biodiversity, they introduce young people to the environment and involve those with learning difficulties in participating in environmental activities.

As well as providing training for unemployed people and supporting community groups TCV also organises conservation holidays for willing volunteers.

Other charities that always appreciate volunteer labour include:

  • RSPB
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • WWT
  • National Trust
  • Forestry Commission
  • Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • National Park Authorities
  • Marine Conservation Studies
  • WWF
Wirral Contryside Volunteers Bench (c) RichardAsh1981 via Flickr
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Even if you don't have the time to volunteer, everyone can support the environment through the "Your Countryside Needs You!" campaign.

By buying products that are grown, reared or made in the British countryside you can help support the farming industry, protect the landscape and help small rural businesses survive.

Get involved in any way you can - your health, your environment and your world will thank you for it!

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