Celebrating 10 years of volunteering We are celebrating ten years of volunteering at Nene Park Trust today! Volunteers have become integral to the day-to-day running of the Park. We can do more for our visitors and wildlife because of their dedicated support and we can’t thank them enough! The very first volunteer session took place on 5th October 2011 with a conservation volunteering session made up of 5 volunteers. Due to its popularity, conservation volunteering expanded rapidly from one session a month ten years ago to three sessions a week currently. We now have over 60 conservation volunteers and this is by far our most popular volunteer role at the Trust. These volunteers support the Park Management Team with the day to day upkeep and maintenance of the Park. Over the years they have helped replace the Boardwalk in Bluebell Wood, coppiced hazel and willow, felled and planted trees, and cut, raked and burned reeds on Ham Mere, to name but a few tasks. New volunteer roles have followed over the years and we now have 150 volunteers supporting us across 17 roles. We are very proud that we still have a good number of our original volunteers as well as welcoming new volunteers to the programme. Education volunteers support our youngest visitors in Nature Tots sessions. Volunteer Rangers patrol across the Nene Park estate; they are our eyes and ears in the Park, reporting any issues to the Duty Rangers. Wildlife Survey volunteers go out on their weekly walks looking for birds, butterflies, moths and wildflowers. This is vital work in understanding the biodiversity within Nene Park and helps us plan for the Park’s future. Visitor Centre and Deli/Farm shop volunteers play an important role, as they are very much the face of Nene Park Trust, helping our visitors with enquires and selling merchandise and products. Audio volunteers record readings of our written publications to make them accessible for those who would prefer to listen to our news rather than read it! Our Hit Squad work with our Park Management Team on more specialist Park maintenance tasks. Other volunteer roles include Photography, Firewood, Woodcrafts, Events, Administration, Longthorpe Tower Guide Leaders and Housekeepers, Nene Outdoors and Woodland’s site support. And the opportunities will continue to grow! Over the years, we have tried hard to create a sense of community among Nene Park Volunteers. We do not take our volunteers for granted and are extremely grateful for their time, energy and expertise; we offer volunteers training courses to upskill within their volunteer roles. It is great to be able to offer our volunteers a chance to meet other volunteers from different roles and so we have been on visits to National Trust sites, looked behind the scenes at other Country Parks, held quizzes and curry nights, offered dawn chorus and bat walks and more recently held a picnic and rounders match on Coney Meadow. A firm favourite with our volunteers is the annual summer BBQ and Christmas meal. In 2019 we were proud to be awarded the Investing in Volunteers quality standard mark where our work in volunteer management was assessed and recognised. We now look forward to the next 10 years and the growth of volunteering opportunities in the Park, through the Your Community Greenspace project. Thank you so much to all our volunteers, past and present – you bring so much to the Park.