The jury may be out on long term volunteering placements and at what point volunteering becomes a proper job that deserves a proper salary and benefits but it is an unescapable fact that without our wonderful volunteers the countryside and wildlife sectors simply would not function. Thousands if not millions of hours are put in by volunteers keeping our countryside properties and reserves tidy, logging sightings, walking and checking rights of way, carrying out bird counts, pulling tons of Himalyan balsam (and other invasives), walking butterfly transects, running bioblitzes, leading guided walks, manning information stalls at events and even checking and emptying collecting tins left on the counter at the local shop. All of these small, and not small, actions are vital for our conservation charities and reserves and each and every one helps connect the volunteers to nature and greenspace too, bringing a myriad of well documented health benefits.
If you'd like to join our amazing army of volunteers giving their time and skills to make a massive difference to our countryside, conservation and wildlife, see what's needed across the sector and available near you by wandering through our online Volunteer Directory.
Latest additions, adverts posted within the last week.
Sectors: Volunteering by what you'll be doing.
Region / Location: Volunteering by location.
Volunteering from Home: details of opportunities for things to do from home.
Volunteering Organisations: Organisations and groups which offer volunteer opportunities but might not have any current adverts.
Conservation Working Holidays: 'Feel good holidays': go on holiday, have a wonderful time and do some conservation work along the way.
Organisations don't forget all of this is advertised FREE! Send us your voluntary opportunities Advertise your volunteer opportunities - it's free.
To return to the opening statement about the benefits of volunteering versus perceived exploitation, there has been a very lively debate on our facebook pages over the last few years about exactly where the tipping point is for this, with both employer and volunteer adding their voices to the debate. There are no easy answers, volunteering is still seen as an essential step into the sector, as a way to demonstrate your commitment, to learn skills and begin your network of professional contacts, all of which are valid points but on the other side it's also a barrier for so many people who are simply unable to volunteer for long periods of time because of other commitments not least being the ability to afford not to earn anything for six+ months. We have hosted several opinion pieces on this topic, please browse through these, and lots of others all covering the many elements of volunteering along with some snippets of news about volunteering here.
If you'd like to add to the debate or write about your time volunteering please contact our features editor, you'll find more information about what we need from a submitted article here,