Weekly blog from Conservation Manger, Stuart Benn.

Let’s hear it for volunteers

Like everyone else, I’m loving watching the Olympics just now – the tiny margins between success and failure, the ecstasy of the gold, the pain of dreams not quite realised.  But I’ve also begun to notice that huge army of people in the background in their smart matching uniforms bringing out flowers for the medal ceremonies, carrying the athletes’ kit, directing folk – the volunteers or ‘Game Makers’ as they are known.  Bolt, Hoy, Wiggins, Phelps and co may be the stars of the show but it would all grind to a halt very quickly were it not for those volunteers.

And so it is in just about every walk of life and conservation is no exception – volunteers are vital and the great thing is that the benefit works both ways.  Erin blogged recently about what she got out of volunteering for the RSPB and it is just the sort of thing employers are looking for on cv’s in an increasingly competitive job market.  And, of course, conservation wins as well – so much more is achieved by staff and volunteers working together.  There are dozens of opportunities to volunteer with the RSPB and you can check them out here.

Volunteering comes in all forms.  Recently we heard about a newly married couple who spent their honeymoon walking from Lands End to John o’Groats raising money for Butterfly Conservation.  As they came through Inverness (with many miles and drops of rain behind them!) we put them up for the night.  Last week they made it – what an effort!

Sami & Seth at the end of their epic walk.

I’ve done my fair share of volunteering too – lots of bird surveys but, more recently, moth trapping.  The Highlands are pretty under-recorded so all info is to the good but some areas need more targeting than others.  Last weekend we got the trap out near Inverness and got a bumper haul of moths and a bumper haul of midges too!

Bumper haul of midges!

If you haven’t thought about volunteering before then why not give it a go?  If you do volunteer then you’re brilliant – you deserve a medal!