8 February 2012

What YOU Can Do for Wildlife: Part 2

Froglife is growing a list of 12 ideas to help amphibians and reptiles in 2012. There are all sorts of things you can do to help wildlife in general, and amphibians and reptiles in particular. We’re sharing tips for our favourite actions you can be part of, and here is the second in our list of ideas.

Idea Number 2. Get Involved with a Nature Reserve.
Volunteers in the amazing landscape of Hampton Nature Reserve
Froglife manages Hampton Nature Reserve in Peterborough, and we know we would struggle to keep on top of the work load without the incredible volunteers that come out to lend a hand. We are looking for volunteers to help in a number of different ways and you can find out more here. If you’re not in our neck of the woods, you can find a list of local sites through the Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust, the RSPB, the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust and many other organisations. Anywhere with a pond or wetland areas is likely to also have amphibians, and scrubby or heathland sites may have reptiles.

Tasks can be physical and muddy to help keep the habitat in top shape, involve surveying and exploring to keep records on the site, or helping other people to get out and about. It can be a great way to get some exercise and meet new people, whilst making a real difference.

Froglife’s Rebecca Neal also volunteers in public engagement work on a nature reserve. “I think it is really important to give ordinary people a positive experience outside,” explains Rebecca. “This might be signposting them to suitable walk, telling them amazing facts about wildlife or building mini shelters for action men with children. The more comfortable people feel in the natural world, the more likely they are to be interested in conserving it.”

Volunteer and Froglife trustee Frank Clark shares how he came to volunteer for us:  “I was retired, not long returned from living in Italy when my wife and I followed our son and moved to Hampton. It was a case of what to do with ALL my time every day. Instead of garden centres, shopping trips and TV watching I chose to volunteer. First choice was Froglife and Hampton Nature Reserve right on my doorstep. Five years on I have developed a more balanced “working” week. Plenty of time for HNR but also time with my wife and the additional task of helping with babysitting our 3 young grandchildren – all still under 5 at the moment.
Frank and friends take a break on the Reserve
Now I visit HNR almost every morning to record the temperatures and check on the pump which controls the water levels. Once a week I walk round the reserve to check on any vandalism damage – caused both by humans and water voles. What has all this led to? I now have an interest in butterflies and birds, pond plants and, of course, amphibians and reptiles. My regrets? I would have liked to have been involved in conservation work much earlier. Be happy, volunteer!”

• You can sign up to be a volunteer on Hampton Nature Reserve by getting in touch with Paul Furnborough on 07977 250048 or emailing paul.furnborough@froglife.org

• You can find out about other opportunities for volunteering through Environmentjob , Countryside Jobs or your local Council for Voluntary Services

• We’d love to hear your volunteering stories and tips, and share them with others on our Stories page or through our Facebook profile here

Photos:  Sam Taylor and Dan Waters

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