Where to volunteer in the UK to help preserve nature, wildlife and the seas

With the preservation of the planet now of utmost importance to people’s lives and many desiring to take action to lend a hand, there are numerous environmental projects that you can get involved in in your local area or even where you choose to take a vacation.

Everything from beach clean-ups, river clean-ups, protecting wildlife, planting trees, monitoring animal and plant species, and gardening, there are numerous organisations that welcome volunteers. Some of these are also family-friendly, so getting your kids involved during the summer holidays is a great way to get them outdoors and having fun.

Here are a few organisations in the UK that welcome volunteers for environmental projects.

The Wildlife Trusts 

The Wildlife Trusts, a grassroots movement of people united by nature, have been instrumental in saving wildlife and wild places, increasing people’s awareness and understanding of the natural world, and deepening people’s relationship with it.

There are Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK – fortunately “there are more Wildlife Trust nature reserves in the UK than branches of McDonalds”, according to The Wildlife Trusts – and each Wildlife Trust is an independent charity formed by people getting together to make a positive difference to wildlife and future generations, starting where they live. Between them, the Trusts look after more than 2,300 nature reserves, covering 98,500 hectares, and operate more than 100 visitor and education centres in every part of the UK, on Alderney and the Isle of Man.

The Wildlife Trusts offer numerous ways in which people can volunteer including community gardening, species surveying, caring for nature reserves, plant identification and GPS mapping, as well as running Wildlife Watch groups, which enable young people to discover and explore their local environment.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit The Wildlife Trusts website

The National Trust

The National Trust look after places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland including some 780 miles of coastline, over 500 historic houses, castles, ancient monuments gardens and parks and nature reserve, and over 248,000 hectares of land.

The Trust operates beach clean-ups along that anyone can take part in. It also runs “Working Holidays”, which are paid for holidays over a weekend or a week, where participants can take part in any number of activities including clearing invasive plants from different parts of the countryside, farming, planting flowers, coppicing woodland, and mapping and recording animal and plant species.

Visit the National Trust website for more information on Working Holidays and other volunteer opportunities

Marine Conservation Society 

If you have an affinity for the ocean, Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has a number of ways in which you can help support marine life and save the seas. Volunteering opportunities include marine citizen science projects to help find out more about species that live on the shores and how they can be protected, beach clean-ups, recording seaweed species, and Sea Champions environmental guardians programme, as well as the more specialist opportunities for sports divers who have an interest in helping protect the marine environment by recording what they see underwater.

For more information, visit the MCS website

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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