Retired lawyer Colin Wilson is one of a team of Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteers who between them gave 50,000 hours of their time to the charity in 2016.
Supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery, the Trust has around 1000 volunteers in a wide range of roles, such as practical conservation, office-based work and engaging with visitors at its four visitor centres.
Tasks carried out on the network of 120 wildlife reserves include conducting surveys, maintaining footpaths and controlling invasive species. Volunteers also organise activities for children, as well as talks and other events in their local area.
As a member of the Trust’s Reserves Project Group, which is based in Dalkeith and can be deployed to projects across the South East of Scotland, Colin currently helps out two days a week.
“Being a Reserve Project Group volunteer is a great opportunity to get out and do something positive now I’m retired. It’s very rewarding work that is helping to create lasting change,” he says.
“2016 was an enjoyable year with lots of different projects. One highlight has been felling Sitka spruce trees at Hare Moss Wildlife Reserve to take the tree line back from the edge of the loch, and then sitting back on a clear crisp January day watching the swans in the winter sun.”
Colin, 65, has been involved in another project creating dams at a reserve in West Lothian.
“It’s also been very satisfying to see the dams we have installed at Longridge Moss Wildlife Reserve to raise the water level in the bog have been effective. This work is encouraging the regrowth of plants like sphagnum moss and cranberry,” he added.
Peter Gilbert, Volunteer Development Officer at the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “We’re privileged to have so many dedicated volunteers supporting our work.
“Whether they are counting seabirds from a rugged clifftop or talking to the public about our exciting conservation projects, our volunteers are making a big difference and helping to protect Scotland’s wildlife for the future.”
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “By giving just a small amount of their time volunteers can make an enormous difference to charities and help them achieve great things. It’s fantastic to hear about the big contribution that the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s volunteers have made in 2016.”
For further information about Trust projects and volunteering opportunities go to www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk