Seeing as its Volunteers Week I wanted to dedicate this blog to all of Jupiter’s helpers.
Jupiter wouldn’t be such a wonderful place to work without the tireless efforts from our volunteers.
We currently have 17 regular volunteers ranging from 13 to 68 years old who help us with all manner of activities such as reserve maintenance, habitat construction, wildlife garden maintenance and public events. This year, they have volunteered over 130 hours of their time.
This wonderful bunch are guaranteed to bring sunshine to a showery day with tales of their own adventures with wildlife, enthusiasm for the most tedious task (sweeping leaves) and real care and commitment to making the reserve a welcoming place for wildlife and visitors.
Fiona, who has been at Jupiter since 2014 shares her experiences of volunteering, “I have so many happy memories of volunteering at Jupiter, it’s difficult to choose just one, and so I’ll list some of my favourites: 1. Catching a glimpse of the kingfisher, 2. Weeding between pavers (well each to their own!), 3. Making bird boxes and 4. Eating cake, biscuits and drinking tea.”
As you can see from Fiona, volunteering isn’t all about trimming those pesky brambles and scything the meadows until you feel like your arms may fall off. It is a social time and for some people it may be one of the few structured activities they have in their week.
When we host public events at Jupiter, we usually need two or three volunteers who help set up the event, take some photos and help any visitors. The events we organise are mainly aimed at families with children of school age and we aim to provide a programme of varied and engaging seasonal topics.
Lastly but most certainly not least, we have our lovely Wildlife Watch leaders. These volunteers help run Jupiter’s Wildlife Watch group, who meet once a month for entertaining activities and events. From nature trails to scavenger hunts, arts and crafts to fungal forays, we always have fun and learn something about wildlife.
I first started down the path of conservation by becoming a Wildlife Watch leader in Edinburgh. I volunteered every month for over two years until I left Edinburgh last year. Since then I have also ran Watch events with the Cumbernauld group and now with Jupiter’s.
Since leaving Edinburgh, I have had two internships opportunities; in Cumbernauld doing an invasive plant species survey for three months plus an events and education role at Jupiter. I was also lucky enough to spend a week on Handa, helping visitors off the boat and talking to them the island’s wildlife. It was an unforgettable experience!
I truly believe that volunteering gives you invaluable experience and an insight into the company you are working for. You create friendships, learn transferable skills and you are giving up your time for free which is an amazing thing to do. You are as important as any employee, if not more!
If you want to get more involved at Jupiter and help us run educational events or carry out practical reserve tasks, please get in touch.
Assistant Ranger at Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre