Wildlife conservation volunteering

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ChemicalBond
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Hello! I'm an environmental scientist looking for wildlife conservation volunteering. I know there are several of them abroad which are definitely well out of my budget, so I'm looking for volunteering that is cheap or preferably free. I have volunteered for Kent Wildlife Trust, and am volunteering for The Aspinall Foundation long-term (which I have no intentions of giving up any time soon!).

Has anybody got any ideas? I've looked at the RSPB and the WDC Scotland dolphin centre as something to maybe do next summer. Locally to uni (Plymouth), I have National Marine Aquarium and Dartmoor Zoo (haven't applied yet, but fully intend to with hopes to volunteer in second year), and at home (Kent) I'm with the Aspinall Foundation. Does anyone have any ideas (anywhere in the UK)?

Cheers
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ChemicalBond
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Bumpity bump!

Or has anyone volunteered for a UK-based conservation charity that they'd recommend?
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daniele1272
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(Original post by ChemicalBond)
Bumpity bump!

Or has anyone volunteered for a UK-based conservation charity that they'd recommend?
Keep onto the WDC plenty of oppurtunities here in birmingham, but more public talks educational if you can answer the weird crazy questioning of 6,7,8 and so on ages questions.
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ChemicalBond
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(Original post by daniele1272)
Keep onto the WDC plenty of oppurtunities here in birmingham, but more public talks educational if you can answer the weird crazy questioning of 6,7,8 and so on ages questions.
Okay, thanks! :thumbsup: With the Aspinall Foundation, I'm in their education department so I'm used to speaking to the public and answering their questions (in fact, I love it!). Have you been with the WDC then?
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daniele1272
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(Original post by ChemicalBond)
Okay, thanks! :thumbsup: With the Aspinall Foundation, I'm in their education department so I'm used to speaking to the public and answering their questions (in fact, I love it!). Have you been with the WDC then?
Yes i have, do a few talks a month mainly at the sea life centre here in Birmingham and going there some point, this summer aswell i enjoy it a lot also to be fair.
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ChemicalBond
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(Original post by daniele1272)
Yes i have, do a few talks a month mainly at the sea life centre here in Birmingham and going there some point, this summer aswell i enjoy it a lot also to be fair.
That's nice to hear! I love the WDC and what they stand for, and being in the sea life centre must be cool. How long have you been doing it for then? (Sorry for all these questions, just really curious!) I've been with the Aspinall Foundation since last March as a regular education volunteer and love it so much I have no intentions of giving it up, so it'd be great to something like that with another charity (in fact, I love it so much that if I don't make it into actual conservation, I want to be one of those people who teaches people about how to live with their wildlife rather than see it as a hindrance to their livelihoods)!

Thank you for your help and taking time to answer my (many) questions!
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daniele1272
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Dont worry i dont mind an from about july, i came back from Australia and emailed them they explained what it would involve an gave me a few dates i said yes june is the next big date for birmingham. and i volunteered there since i was young straight after school.
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ChemicalBond
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Thank you very much! Have fun with your next talk. Oh wow, that's an impressive amount of time. I take it whales are your favourites then (they're definitely mine!)?

Anyone got any experience with the RSPB or any other conservation charity?
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larusfuscus
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(Original post by ChemicalBond)
Anyone got any experience with the RSPB or any other conservation charity?
yes

what sort of volunteering are you interested in - day/residential?; long term/short term?; education only or other areas?

and as an aside you are imo right to concentrate on uk volunteering. if you ultimately want to work in the uk it looks much better on a CV.
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ChemicalBond
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(Original post by larusfuscus)
yes

what sort of volunteering are you interested in - day/residential?; long term/short term?; education only or other areas?

and as an aside you are imo right to concentrate on uk volunteering. if you ultimately want to work in the uk it looks much better on a CV.
Hello! I'm interested in residential volunteering and would like experience with conservation/surveys. What did you do with the RSPB and did you enjoy it?
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larusfuscus
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(Original post by ChemicalBond)
Hello! I'm interested in residential volunteering and would like experience with conservation/surveys. What did you do with the RSPB and did you enjoy it?
I did a couple of things, at different reserves, and I enjoyed both of them. One was mainly habitat/land management work (brushcutter and chainsaw stuff) and one was more monitoring - but there are very few pure fieldwork opportunities. If you look at the residential volunteering pages of the RSPB website you will get a good idea what is available. To build meaningful experience you should probably look at the longer placements or internships - which are 6 mos plus and probably not compatible with uni until after you finish. It is worth pointing out that they can be competitive and that bird ID tests may feature in the interviews. There are also visitor services/education type placements but you are much less likely to be doing practical or survey work on those. Also, I don't know anything about you but if you are not already a birder with solid ID skills (a uni field ID course doesn't count) you won't be much use at surveys, although you would be able to observe and placements are a good chance to improve ID skills.
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ChemicalBond
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(Original post by larusfuscus)
I did a couple of things, at different reserves, and I enjoyed both of them. One was mainly habitat/land management work (brushcutter and chainsaw stuff) and one was more monitoring - but there are very few pure fieldwork opportunities. If you look at the residential volunteering pages of the RSPB website you will get a good idea what is available. To build meaningful experience you should probably look at the longer placements or internships - which are 6 mos plus and probably not compatible with uni until after you finish. It is worth pointing out that they can be competitive and that bird ID tests may feature in the interviews. There are also visitor services/education type placements but you are much less likely to be doing practical or survey work on those. Also, I don't know anything about you but if you are not already a birder with solid ID skills (a uni field ID course doesn't count) you won't be much use at surveys, although you would be able to observe and placements are a good chance to improve ID skills.
Okay thank you very much, that was very useful, and I'm glad you enjoyed them! I looked at the website for residential opportunities, and some of them did sound very good to be honest. I'm quite good at identifying animals, including birds, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to keep practising it!

Thanks again for your help. I think I might consider the RSPB!
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larusfuscus
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(Original post by ChemicalBond)
Okay thank you very much, that was very useful, and I'm glad you enjoyed them! I looked at the website for residential opportunities, and some of them did sound very good to be honest. I'm quite good at identifying animals, including birds, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to keep practising it!

Thanks again for your help. I think I might consider the RSPB!
If you can afford to work for 6 mos/a year for nothing (accom provided but not food) it is a good scheme, especially if you want to see up close how a nature reserve is managed and functions on a day to day basis. On one of the internships there is usually some formal training as well. If marine/marine field research is your thing it won't be directly relevant to you, but you could always ask about marine policy volunteer opportunities.
Of the 6 months or more residential vols I have worked with one is doing a PhD, one a Masters, two working in conservation (short term contracts, but at least paid) and one I lost touch with. Not bad results.
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username1624749
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I've been doing RSPB volunteering weekly since November and it's great! The warden is a great guy and we are constantly making the reserve better (although, I wish we did some more aesthetic work). I've been trying to get some more Forestry Commission work under my belt but they're always working in difficult to reach locations, and only do volunteering once or twice a month. I've also tried TCV, but their work is almost entirely litter-picking. I recently did a week-long volunteering excursion in Glen Affric in the highlands and it was fantastic, although from the way the focaliser made it sound, the weeks usually aren't as fun as the one we had - definitely my best volunteering experience though.
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