Charities with a national reach, a local touch - volunteer with animals
10 charities with a National Spread
So you want to volunteer and you’re looking for a charity to help. There are an enormous number of them, so at the start of Volunteer Week (1-7 June every year), here’s a run down of 9 charities with a national spread and yet a local impact…join lots of other people who've want to make a positive difference to wildlife in your area.
There are 47 Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK, all under the umbrella of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, and you can easily find your local one here. Dedicated to helping wildlife, the thing I love about the Wildlife Trust is that you really can make a difference to wildlife your area, and it’s a great way to learn more about it all and meet other wildlife enthusiasts. If you’ve got a wildlife loving friend in another part of the country, why not give them a membership to the Wildlife Trust in their area?
With over 100 nature reserves, the RSPB works to help mostly birds but other wildlife as well, providing them with a healthy environment. You can buy a membership for yourself or as a gift, and there are plenty of ways to volunteer. There’s even corporate team challenges, volunteering overseas and residential volunteering in the UK. There are lots of local groups and you can get as involved as you want. Find out more about volunteering and the roles you could do here
| Give a hedgehog a home
from Garden Wildlife Direct
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
More commonly known as the WWT, there are 9 centres around the UK and they all need help. Wetlands are those places where land meets the sea, and they are the main source of drinking water for people and wildlife so they really are important. About a thousand volunteers already help out – you can find out how to do that here. Volunteers are often the meet and greet folk who welcome the visiting public, but they also help maintain the grounds and reserves.
The National Trust
There are lots of ways to help wildlife and the National Trust have recently vowed to dedicate more land to wildlife. You can volunteer in stately homes and castles of course, but also on the coast and in the countryside and in the stunning gardens owned by the Trust. There are a number of supporter groups and you can use their finder facility to find a volunteer opportunity near you.
For any reptile and amphibian lover, take a look at Froglife. It’s the national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, news, snakes and lizards. And crucially, it works to save the habitats these animals depend on. There’s plenty of things to get involved in, from Toad on Roads to wildlife spotting and recording. There are also projects you can get involved with too, such as Dragon Finder and projects to help disadvantaged young people – find out more here.
Feed the birds
wherever you are
from Garden Wildlife Direct
The Mammal Society
The Mammal Society works to collect and share information on mammals, and to encourage research to discover more about their ecology and distribution and help contribute to efforts to conserve them.
There are a number of local groups around the UK so take a peek at the one nearest you. Local groups enable wildlife enthusiasts to meet up and contribute to the world of the society. They share knowledge and raise awareness, survey and monitor local mammals, hold events and talks.
This charity has an amazing 30,000 volunteers who love butterflies and want to make a difference to them. Find out the branch nearest to you – there are 32 of them. There are work parties, monitoring and recording opportunities, and branch activities as well – butterfly walks, moth events and conservation activities.
Bat Conservation Trust
Over 80 groups in the UK are made up of passionate volunteers helping to do front-line conservation work. Some are larger than others and they all operate differently, but what a way to get involved and help bats. Volunteer for bats here
Marine Conservation Society
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) works to secure a feature for our living seas, and to save our threatened marine life. It has a number of campaigns such as Don’t Let Go. There are all sorts of ways to get active and get involved, from beach clean ups to being a Sea Champion and the MCS has a number of local groups. Find out about Beachwatch here
Charity begins at home
So even if you can’t travel, there will be ways to help wildlife from your armchair by doing it online, in your garden such as creating a wildlife friendly garden and being more aware of how you use the earth’s resources and looking at your own habits and how you can change those to help wildlife. You can also help from home with surveys such as the Big Garden Birdwatch and surveys run by Buglife
Finally, many other charities have regional or local groups so it’s worth checking your favourite animal’s charities to see if your animal has one. Volunteering is a great way to join in and make friends with other people who want to make a positive difference to wildlife and the natural world.