I don’t normally blog about the local volunteering I do with Crewe & Nantwich Conservation Volunteers – not sure why – but I think it’s about time I started.
I’ve been volunteering with the group for four years, heading out into the South Cheshire countryside every other Sunday to do practical tasks for a number of different organisations.
Our tasks are varied and focused on helping to conserve or enhance particular habitats and environments. We often undertake similar tasks over several Sundays to enable us to complete larger jobs. Our tasks tend to follow the seasons with our cycle of chopping, burning, invasive species removal and meadow raking being very familiar to long serving volunteers. We also do some more obviously constructive tasks such as the bench installing and path building we did last weekend.
Over the course of each year we generally do tasks for Cheshire East Council Ranger Service, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England, although for a past couple of years we’ve also done some tasks for a private landowner.
The group doesn’t have an official motto but ‘Conservation & Conversation’ works pretty well – although something related to fire or biscuits could be just as apt!
As we move into the latter part of the year, my favourite kind of tasks start again – cutting down trees and setting fire to them! It may sound counter-intuitive to do this in the name of conservation but it is vital in helping to preserve some of the rarest habitats we have. Whilst I’m a believer in letting nature have its way, I also understand that if we did so without any management at all, we would end up losing some habitats that are now few and far between in the UK. That we have to do this at all is more than just a shame and entirely the fault of humans. Sometimes we need to take what would normally be odd action to help undo the harm we have done – if we don’t do something, some habitats may be lost forever.
Anyway, for me, there’s no better way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon outside than chucking a few logs on a fire and spending a few hours poking it.