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The Nature Volunteers website

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The Find project button asks a few quick questions so that in seconds volunteers can search the bank of current projects and see results ranked by how well they match their interests (Nature Volunteers)
The Find project button asks a few quick questions so that in seconds volunteers can search the bank of current projects and see results ranked by how well they match their interests (Nature Volunteers)

The Nature Volunteers website helps to help link people interested in volunteering in nature with projects being offered by organisations. The website has two aims - to give people better access to volunteer opportunities in the UK and to help organisations find volunteers to enhance the success of their projects. People wish to volunteer in nature for diverse reasons and Nature Volunteers was set up last year with funding support from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to expand the range of people accessing nature volunteering opportunities. It is designed to help people ranging from professionals working in the countryside & wildlife conservation sectors who wish to enhance their skills to people who are new to nature volunteering including young adults wishing to expand their horizons, families looking for ways connect with nature to enhance well-being and older people wishing to share their time and life experiences to help nature.

The project match results show projects in order of how well they fit the interests expressed by the volunteer (Nature Volunteers)
The project match results show projects in order of how well they fit the interests expressed by the volunteer (Nature Volunteers)

The projects on the website range from species surveys to practical conservation work in habitats across the UK. They can be one-off tasks to a set placement where regular participation would be expected. They can also be outdoors or desk based. At Nature Volunteers we are happy to host any organisation's projects as long as they are free for volunteers to participate in and help nature or the environment in some way. Visitors to the website can search for current volunteering opportunities using the “Find Projects” tab by answering a few simple questions and can then view projects they are interested in and link directly to the organisations. They can also browse past projects under the “completed projects” tab on our website.

Volunteers can then click on any project to find out more information and contact the organisation (Nature Volunteers)
Volunteers can then click on any project to find out more information and contact the organisation (Nature Volunteers)

The Find project button asks a few quick questions so that in seconds volunteers can search the bank of current projects and see results ranked by how well they match their interests (Nature Volunteers)

Even during the lockdown, our website also still has lots of content to have a look at, both in our resources and projects sections. Many projects and volunteer roles have been promoted via our website, our top-ranked being Project Volunteer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust,  habitat improvement at Wildwood Escot Wetland Project, and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Tuesday group. Meanwhile, the most viewed projects include Plant ID Volunteer for Colour in the Margins, led by Plantlife, Walk This Water Way from The Mammal Society and Gardenwatch from the BTO. Views do seem to translate into sign-ups! Walk This Water Way and Gardenwatch are the most signed-up to projects, along with Living Seas Volunteer at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre.

Volunteering doesn’t have to stop just because of a pandemic.  Projects on our website such as Walk This Water Way and Gardenwatch can be done safely maintaining social isolation rules as can many other projects. Also there are a whole host of other things you can be doing to get in touch with nature, and we at Nature Volunteers are sharing a range of resources on our Facebook page Get out and look for wildflowers, spot swifts or brush up on your bird song ID. From garden species surveys such as looking for Spittlebugs and observing butterflies to looking for seasonal changes on your daily exercise with the Woodland Trust or doing online data entry such as Penguin Watch and Seabird Watch, you can easily help science and nature from home!

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