Year of Environmental Actions; Conservation Volunteering

28th February 2022

Following our blog theme of a Year of Environmental Actions, I’m throwing my hat in the ring with engaging with the environment through volunteering and how people can get involved.  In the last blog I wrote a lot about rivers, so you’d be safe in assuming I have a real interest in rivers and understand their importance. Which is why I have spent some time over the past couple months volunteering with Aire River Trust. This Bradford charity is working to improve the River Aire by regularly taking volunteer groups out to do work which helps reduce flooding, clear litter, create new habitats.  I’ve only taken part in a few volunteering sessions, but I have already gained a sense of the scope of work that the Aire River Trust (and other river charities) undertake and how important it is for our waterways and ecosystems.

When picturing flood defenses, it’s easy to imagine big, expensive, concrete structures blocking a barrage of water, but a lot of the heavy lifting can be done by ‘softer’ methods.  This is where the Aire River Trust has come in, with a floodable meadow just off Buck Lane, Baildon to name one example.  A floodable meadow is essentially just extra water storage for floodplains, which have already come into use with the recent winter storms. On a previous occasion we did some hedge laying which was hard graft.  On this job, whilst I had joined too late to have the job of digging out the ditches (phew!), I did get to spread wildflower seeds throughout the ditch that had been dug.  Adding these wildflower seeds will bring a flood of biodiversity to the area, allowing insects to pollinate.  It will also look fantastic when spring comes and the wildflowers begin to bloom.  I’ll definitely be returning back to this site in spring to see the progress in the area and I’ll update this blog when I do!

Get Out More allows its staff a number of wellbeing days each quarter which I have chosen to spend with Aire Rivers Trust.  Volunteering on environmental projects can be hard physical work but you get to meet new people and its great to feel I’m making a real difference to my local landscape.  Getting involved is as easy as it gets really. There is a number of volunteering events on weekly in areas throughout the catchment.  If you’re not based  around the Aire Valley then finding other organisations can be as searching ‘your local river; e.g, Don, Mersey, Tyne’ then Rivers Trust, the organisation responsible will likely pop up.  Tackling climate change can feel like a daunting task, but getting out there and getting your hands dirty at least feels like you are part of the solution.

By Ryan Passmore

Marketing and Project Assistant