Volunteers clock up 50,000 hours for trust

Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteer Colin Wilson
Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteer Colin Wilson

Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteers gave an incredible 50,000 hours of their time to the charity in 2016.

The trust is supported by around 1000 volunteers across a wide range of roles, including practical conservation, office-based work and engaging with visitors at the its four visitor centres.

Tasks carried out on the trust’s network of 120 wildlife reserves include conducting surveys, maintaining footpaths and controlling invasive species.

Volunteers also organise activities for children, as well as talks and other events in their areas.

Peter Gilbert, volunteer development officer at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re privileged to have so many dedicated volunteers supporting our work.

“Whether they are counting seabirds from a rugged clifftop or talking to the public about our exciting conservation projects, our volunteers are making a big difference and helping to protect Scotland’s wildlife for the future.”

Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “By giving just a small amount of their time volunteers can make an enormous difference to charities and help them achieve great things.

“It’s fantastic to hear about the big contribution that the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s volunteers have made in 2016.”

Chris Cachia-Zammit from Malta is volunteering with the trust as part of a year-long European Voluntary Service placement.

During 2016 he has completed a range of tasks including orientating visitors to Handa Island in the north west of Scotland, working at the trust’s Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre, and helping to count geese at Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve in Angus.

Chris said: “Volunteering for the Scottish Wildlife Trust has given me the opportunity to work with like-minded people, learn about the problems facing wildlife, and take part in a wide range of activities.

“Some of the most memorable moments of my year have been working on Handa Island and being awed by thousands of pink-footed geese at Montrose Basin during a count this autumn.”

Colin Wilson volunteers for two days a week with the trust’s reserves project group based in Dalkeith.

He said: “Being a reserve project group volunteer is a great opportunity to get out and do something positive now I’m retired. It’s very rewarding work that is helping to create lasting change.

“This year has been enjoyable, with lots of different projects.

“One highlight has been felling Sitka spruce trees at Hare Moss Wildlife Reserve to take the tree line back from the edge of the loch, and then sitting back on a clear crisp January day watching the swans in the winter sun.

“It’s also been very satisfying to see the dams we have installed at Longridge Moss Wildlife Reserve to raise the water level in the bog have been effective.”

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has a number of current vacancies for volunteers.

For more details visit www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk.