Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A date with nature!

Bored on weekends? Want to B- Enterprising and have fun? Join the Conservation Volunteers!


Conservation Volunteers are a University of Birmingham based society who do conservation work every Sundays during term. They, along with the students who volunteer, visit interesting parks around Birmingham and do their bit to help conserve nature. I decided to tag along with them to get the feel of what they do and so have a first-hand account of the amazing work they do and all the hard work that goes into it.                                      

Daniel Haynes, in charge of the Chair, is extremely passionate and enthusiastic about conservation. A third year Biological Sciences student, he loves helping out and giving back to nature. Along with the work being related to his course, he enjoys doing it, especially as he likes green spaces and wildlife. His passion is what drives him to work hard, organizing things. He is very committed, unfailingly attending every conservation event. 
"Conservation has helped me become more confident as a person and develop my leadership qualities. It is quite stressful, making sure that there are no problems during the events. But it's all worth it and I love it." He says. 

As a leader, he is responsible for creating the events and managing everyone who joins the events every week. He was happy to explain his role to me. He said that he makes a list of the places around Birmingham that could use some help and he contacts the rangers and charities like TCV.  After they get back to him, they fix the dates and he makes up an itinerary of sorts, with all the parks to visit scheduled for each Sunday. Every week, he sends round an email to all the members signed up and also posts a message on their Facebook page, about the event the following Sunday. He gets an idea as to the people attending through the Facebook event and email replies, which helps him arrange transport accordingly, and also to give the rangers an idea as to how many people to expect.           

My adventure with Conservation was very exciting. Last Sunday, we visited the Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, which is the seventh largest urban park in Europe. It sprawls over an astounding 2000 acres and is home to a donkey sanctuary as well. The organizers offered us lifts in a Land Rover, where we got to experience an open air ride, through the muddy roads and vast expanses of grasslands and woodland to where we were working. Our job was to cut the encroaching Birch trees, to make way for more heather and gorse to grow and provide a habitat for other life forms. Everyone got right to it, grabbing saws and loppers, and felling trees left and right. It was a bit of a challenge to chop the bigger ones and most people chose to face it with enthusiasm. At the end of the day, after a couple of breaks with tea and biscuits, we had an impressive stash of logs and a humongous pile of brash.

Even though I was tired, it was with a satisfactory feeling that I handed my wellies back in. It was a day well spent, giving something back to nature and doing something worthwhile. Hats off to the Conservation team for organizing an event every Sunday, implementing them without a hitch, being very committed and passionate about what they do! Not to mention getting all of us excited about conservation!

To Daniel, the Conservation Volunteers has helped him hone his organisation, management and people skills, and made him more motivated, dedicated and more determined than ever! 

So if you want to spend a Sunday doing something different, get in touch with the Conservation Volunteers for a day filled with fun, enjoyable work and passion!

Lakshmipriya Venkatesan
Student PR team 

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