UWE Green Team links up with Warmley Forest Park

Issue date: 30 April 2009


University of the West of England Student volunteers from the University of the West of England are teaming up with British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) in South Gloucestershire to form a Green Team that will help out at the Warmley Forest Park over the coming year.

The Green Team volunteers will mainly consist of students who are working towards environmental science and geography degrees and the work they do will compliment aspects of their course work by introducing a practical dimension to the theory.

Nik West, a mature Conservation Biology student, has lead the Green Team's work with BCTV for the past few months. He said, “It's really important to get a feel for the practical side to conservation work to make the theory meaningful and volunteering offers up a great chance to get this kind of experience. I've done a lot of volunteering over the years including working locally for the Bristol Zoological Gardens and Avon Wildlife Trust.

“The work we are doing at Warmley Forest Park is quite varied. I'm excited at the prospect of setting up bat boxes in the forest this summer. Bats are a particular obsession of mine – I have done surveys for the National Bat Monitoring Program and I belong to Avon Bat Group so it will be good to expand this interest by involving the Green Team in the survey. It's been really good working with the people at the Tree Life Centre who coordinate the woodland management at the Warmley Forest Park and I'd encourage more students to give it a go.”

Jo Earl, Project Coordinator in the Community Volunteer Programme at UWE, explains, “We are trying to develop more volunteering opportunities in partnership with course leaders that will dovetail neatly with their course work and likely interests. This will provide the students with work experience that will be invaluable when they apply for work when they leave university.

“We have worked with BTCV on a range of community action days over the years but we are now aiming to be more focused in our approach by matching volunteers with projects that relate closely to their chosen degree subjects.”

Ben Hall, Project Officer at BTCV Tree Life Centre says that the work the students carry out is really valuable and will contribute greatly to the improvement of the Forest Park. He said, “Over the next year we will be working with the UWE Green Team on a range of tasks that will give the students some good practical skills. They will construct footpaths to improve public access, conduct a bat survey and carry out a variety of woodland management tasks.

“Those who are interested in moving into conservation work can benefit tremendously by volunteering, it's almost a prerequisite to securing paid employment in the sector. We aim to make the experience as interesting and useful as we can so that the students get something positive out of the work they are doing for us at Warmley Forest Park.”

Ends

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