September is fast approaching, which is usually the month when everything starts again – school is back on, the holidays are over and there are a lot of opportunities on the horizon.
This is a fine time to start thinking about volunteering. If you’ve ever thought about volunteering but don’t quite know where to start, The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has various openings for education volunteers.
If you like working with people and love the outdoors, then volunteering at one of the trust’s education centres could be the perfect role. No specific skills or knowledge are required and you don’t have to have been a teacher already to volunteer, you just need to be enthusiastic about wildlife and enjoy working with people, especially children.
The trust is looking for volunteers to assist with delivery of environmental education to groups and visitors to the trust reserves’ education centres under the supervision of the education officer.
One of the trust’s most picturesque sites is Swanwick Lakes, which offers a range of activities to a variety of ages, mostly young people.
Managed by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Swanwick Lakes is a beautiful natural haven surrounded by farmland which covers 35 hectares and has magnificent views of three lakes, and wildflower meadows that teem with plants and insects.
Staff at the centre run guided walks, children’s activities, forest schools and youth groups, among many other events.
Education officer Jess Daish-Miller said “We have volunteers that range from teenagers to retirees, some are able to volunteer on a weekly basis, and some may come in every few months. It is completely flexible to how much time you would like to spend at the centre, but we do ask that you volunteer regularly.
“The atmosphere is fun and friendly.
“What is more, we find that spending time in this inspiring and beautiful place really enriches the lives of those who choose to volunteer with us.”
Rosie Cooper has volunteered at Swanwick for the last year. She works full time but she also volunteers for the trust two to three times a month at wildlife tots sessions, which are focused on pre-school children.
Rosie said: “Volunteering with the education team has been invaluable for building up skills working with groups of children and adults, helping them to make the most of the sessions we are running.
“It’s also been very useful to see the planning process, and be involved in assessing how sessions have gone, it involves lots of transferable skills.
“I get back everything I put in to the trust two-fold, with the added benefit of knowing that the work I’m part of is helping to strengthen nature conservation, and the local community, and the links between the two. I can’t think of a better kind of investment in the future.”
For more information about volunteering with the trust visit hiwwt.org.uk/ volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust on 01490 774400.