Volunteers are vital to any charity. They are the lifeblood of our work here at The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, without them we wouldn’t be able to deliver our vital conservation work. From 1st to 7th June, we will celebrate our volunteers as part of National Volunteers Week.
As a charity, we manage over 100 nature reserves. Our volunteers help us ensure that our reserves are maintained and habitats are managed for the benefit of our precious wildlife. Our reserves are home to some of the most magnificent and rare wildlife this country has to offer. From Puffins and Manx Shearwaters on Skomer and Skokholm Island to Great Crested Newts and Lapwings at Parc Slip.
We have an array of volunteer roles available, not only in conservation. We spoke to a few of our volunteers from across the Trust region to give you an insight into what to expect as a volunteer at The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW).
Richard Slack, conservation volunteer in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot area said:
"Volunteering for the Wildlife Trust has many benefits: I have visited hidden nature reserves, learnt skills such as hedge laying, stone walling and management of the environment and have taken part in surveys of plants, insects and other wildlife. It is rewarding to help the local ecology whilst keeping fit mentally and physically and spending time with a group of like minded people and experienced knowledgeable staff."
Gareth Pearson, conservation volunteer at Taf Fechan Nature Reserve, Merthyr Tydfil said:
“I've been volunteering with Lorna and the team since December 2018. I love what we do and always look forward to the next week's session. Every time I take part I always walk away with a great sense of fulfilment and satisfaction from knowing that I am doing something to help the local environment especially as I only live a couple of minutes from the reserve itself. It has done wonders for my physical and mental wellbeing. I look forward to many more volunteer sessions in the future.”
Karen Morse, Living Seas Wales volunteer at Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre said:
"I conduct dolphin watch surveys, sitting on New Quay harbour wall (in all weather conditions) looking for dolphins, seals, porpoise and coastal birds. We record their activities, interactions with boats as well as environmental conditions. We also talk to the public about local marine wildlife and conservation. I love volunteering because I like watching dolphins and just thinking about the sea – the harbour wall is my happy place! It’s also great to contribute to marine conservation."
Simon McNeal, conservation volunteer at the Welsh Wildlife Centre and Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve said:
"Since joining in 2018, I have found volunteering with the Wildlife Trust to be an enjoyable and fun experience. It is great to be outdoors (in all weathers!) amongst nature, with each season bringing a new perspective and challenges. I find it rewarding to work as a part of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team. Every volunteer day brings the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills, all whilst contributing to something very worthwhile."
Tommy Evans, volunteer wildlife photographer at the Welsh Wildlife Centre and Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve said:
"I am a 72 year old retired teacher and my main hobby is wildlife photography. Living only 2 miles from the reserve, I spend a lot of time in the hides. Volunteering here is my way of giving something back to make sure that the reserve is maintained for wildlife."
Alan Salter, volunteer reserve warden at Y Byddwn Nature Reserve in Brecknock said:
"I have voluntarily managed Y Byddwn Nature Reserve since October 2016. It is the smallest reserve in Brecknock. I joined the Wildlife Trust because I love nature and being outdoors. Assisting the regular work parties keeps me healthy in body, mind and spirit and being with other like minded people gives off a feel good factor."
If you feel inspired to get involved, we have volunteer opportunities available across South and West Wales in a variety of roles. So regardless of your interests and talents, we have something to suit you.
Here are just some of the opportunities currently available:
Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran
Gift Shop volunteers
Have you always wanted to work surrounded by beautiful stock and scenery? Our shop is situated on the second floor of our award winning Welsh Wildlife Centre. We stock beautiful items, many of which are locally sourced. This is a great opportunity to gain customer service experience, meet like minded people and work as part of a friendly team. No experience required, all training will be provided.
Have you always wanted to inspire the next generation? We are looking for volunteers to help with the delivery of children activities and events. Experience working with children is essential. Full training will be provided.
If interested in either of the above vacancies, come along to our Volunteer Recruitment Morning on 4th June at 11am for an informal chat. Free tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided!
If you can’t make it to our recruitment morning but are interested in volunteers, please call the centre on 01239 627600.
Parc Slip Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre, Bridgend
Do you have some spare time and want to give back to the community? Come and volunteer in our Café situated in the Parc Slip Visitor Centre. We serve homemade local produce daily; all funds raised go towards our vital conservation work. No experience required, all training will be provided.
If interested, please contact Tom on 01656 726987 or email for more information.
Volunteer Reserve Warden
Many of the reserves in the Brecknock area require grazing to manage the vegetation and provide the conditions to promote the rare species of flora and fauna they are renowned for. We mainly use Welsh mountain ponies and Exmoor ponies in small numbers. These hardy ponies do a wonderful job of maintaining some of our reserves.
Our Volunteer Reserve Wardens are an integral part of ensuring that these ponies stay safe and well while they are with us. Apart from checking on the ponies, volunteer wardens also keep an eye on the reserve in general, reporting to us if there is a problem. Many also record species as they find them, helping with our monitoring.
This is a brilliant opportunity for someone who has spare time and loves to be immersed in nature. Join our friendly team and help us manage these beautiful reserves.
If interested, contact Steph on 07957292243 or email
For more information about volunteering, take a look here.