Volunteer Photographers with WWT
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), has such a wide, diverse mix of volunteer roles from canoe safaris to storytelling and bird surveys. But one role is now becoming more and more popular at our centres and that is the role of volunteer photographers.
The WWT is always on the lookout for ‘the perfect shot’ to use in our publicity etc. so it made a lot of sense to ask for the help of volunteers to do this.
The volunteer photographers might be asked to take a list of specific shots from around the centres. This might include shots of visitors enjoying the different activities or it might be of staff and volunteers interacting with the public. It could be that the volunteers are asked to take specific shots of the collection or grounds. There are also some volunteer photographers that focus specifically on the wildlife on the reserves. This might involve trying to get a shot of a rare bird or just a well-framed shot of one of the more common species.
One centre that has recently recruited more Visitor Experience volunteer photographers, is Washington in the North East. This is because the original photographers have proved to be so successful. This has been instigated by Deborah Nolan, one of the Marketing & Communications Managers.
“Our volunteer photographers are just fantastic! They’re a massive help with regards to publicity and they really support the Trust in capturing the energy and excitement that visitors can expect when they come here, as well as the wildlife that can be seen. This helps promote the centre in a positive way while benefiting our volunteers by expanding and potentially improving their portfolios!”
One of the Volunteer Photographers, Ian Henderson was happy to answer some questions about his role.
What do you enjoy about the volunteer photographer role?
“Why I enjoy it – the people, opportunity to make a difference, always improving my knowledge and skills, the whole experience of belonging to an organisation like WWT, the insight in to conservation, forever changing. Spent a day with Sacha Dench covering her visit to Washington WWT before her Flight of the Swans adventure!
Great balance to my “day job”. Helps me relax. Keeps me sane”.
What does the role involve?
“Between 2 and 6 hours most weeks. Mostly at the reserve but some at home working on processing. Some specific events by mutual agreement. Imagination, attention to detail, a sense of humour and the desire to do well.
The media team at Slimbridge provide a list of subject matter and Deborah and Leanne give me a ‘hit list’ most weeks. I get asked to take shots to assist in the living collection and reserve management. I have covered several visitor events and opening ceremonies. I am invited to join in the regular team development and social events. I also have the flexibility to contribute my own choice of subject matter.”
How long have you been volunteering for?
“2 years and 15 days’.
Where my photos have been used – the highlights have been having my photo on the front cover (and April) of the WWT 2017 Calendar and the 2015 / 16 winter WWT advertising poster on the Tyne and Wear Metro network. My work has also appeared in Waterlife as well as regular coverage in WWT Washington social media releases. It is also used in press releases and in feedback to sponsors.”
The WWT has always worked with volunteers and they are an integral part of the organisation and historically always have been. Volunteers receive an induction process and training. They are invited to social events including a summer BBQ and sometimes a Christmas lunch. All volunteers receive a role description and are offered a review.
The Volunteering team are constantly creating new volunteering opportunities along with the centre staff. This role just shows the variety of skills the Trust is looking for and the type of diverse opportunities on offer.
For more information and to see all the roles for which we are currently recruiting, visit the WWT website.