Volunteers are a major part of our programme success. Since Foresters' Forest began in 2017, over 1,000 volunteers have been involved, helping deliver the various projects that help sustain the Forest of Dean’s built, natural and cultural heritage. The programme’s volunteer contribution so far amounts to a fantastic 30,659 hours in total, which is valued at an impressive £683,474.
This January, 38 of the volunteers have been awarded badges and certificates, recognising their input between 2017 and 2020. Three ‘oak leaf’ badge types are awarded each year, a Green badge recognising 50 hours of volunteering in total, a Yellow badge 200 hours and an Orange badge 500 hours.
Due to lockdown we had to post the awards this year, rather than hold a thank you event, so we asked some volunteers to send us photos of their certificates and badges. Shown photographed with their awards are Phil Riches, Terry Tomlin and Gwynneth Weaver, who are all Buried Heritage (Archaeology) volunteers, and Jon Allen who volunteers with ‘New Leaf’ and ‘Worcester Walk Community Project’.
Some of the top projects that make up the programme’s volunteer activity include ‘Buried Heritage’, where volunteers complete archaeological LIDAR surveying and community digs. The ‘Batscape’ volunteers have dedicated hours to completing hedgerow surveys, along with planting new hedges, to help Horseshoe bats navigate their way to feeding areas. Many hours of bird count surveys have been undertaken by the ‘Birds’ project volunteers and the ‘New Leaf Social Forestry’ project, run by The Rewild Project, has also seen its team of volunteers dedicate significant hours helping and engaging with disadvantaged groups with their heritage crafts projects.
In between lockdowns during 2020 some project volunteers were able to complete outdoor activities, when it was safe to do so. For example, Worcester Walk Community Project planted heritage orchard trees in December; see main photo at the top of this page.
Many of the programme’s volunteer teams have been working from home to keep the projects going.
Sue Middleton, our Programme Manager says:
“We really want to thank all our volunteers who work so hard on our projects, as they are a major part of the programme’s success. We couldn’t do it without them and even though it’s been difficult in the past year, we hope they will continue to volunteer when possible and keep these vital heritage projects going.”
If you are interested in volunteering for Foresters’ Forest, please email email@example.com
at Forest Voluntary Action Forum (FVAF) who continue to be a key support partner, helping coordinate all the volunteer activity. See also our volunteers' case studies