ARC has many opportunities to volunteer and we realise that volunteering can be of great benefit to an individual’s physical and mental health, as well to nature. This is why we work with a variety of partners to make volunteering accessible to as many people as possible.

Our Dorset team have been working with Onwards ‘n’ Upwards, an organisation which specialise in helping young people overcome issues they are facing to continue into education or move onto work. For the last year we have been working together to help individual learners overcome various mental health challenges by engaging with nature through volunteering on our nature reserves.

Richard Sharp, ARC's Dorset Volunteer Co-ordiantor and Field Officer tells us more about one such volunteer task “Normally we would have one or two individual learners join our regular habitat management tasks; gradually building up their confidence and self-reliance. On this occasion we tried a small group on a task of their own, unfortunately it was not the best weather but we gamely persevered for the two and half hours. It was a first experience of habitat management for several of the learners but they all pitched in and we got a lot of small pine cleared from the heathland for the time we had on site. We then had our tea break under a pine tree so the doughnuts didn’t get soggy! All in all a great effort by all. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in the not too distant future.”

Bethen Hartley, Centre Manager for Onwards 'n' Upwards commented “We would like to thank Rick at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation for running a volunteer task day especially for learners. Having attended other task days with Rick, we knew the opportunity to get out in the fresh air as a group and make a difference to a local conservation area would be a positive experience for our learners. And the day didn’t disappoint (although maybe the weather did!).

Despite some nerves around trying something new and some moans about the near-awful wind and rain, all our learners got involved in one way or another: cutting small pines, clearing cuttings, carrying tools, encouraging each other, looking after the all-important snack bag! Rick was a fantastic host – he engaged will all our learners, making them feel welcomed and safe, together with sharing his expert knowledge on all things conservation. Unfortunately, in the end the driving rain won, and we packed up a little earlier, but not before enjoying a cuppa from Rick’s very organised tea kit! A great experience and we hope to work with Rick and ARC again soon.”

If you would like to volunteer with ARC to help native amphibians and reptiles and their habitats find out more on our volunteer pages and complete our volunteer registration form.