What are the meeting times
Generally we meet at 1000 at the designated meeting point
Is it hard work and what experience do I need?
No experience is necessary - just a willingness to get your hands dirty. The task leader will show you what to do and how best to use the tools we provide. Whether it is hard work or not is very much up to you; you can work at your own pace. We would advise not overdoing it at first - some of our tasks can be addictive and people have been known to go away quite tired. However, looking on the bright side, conservation projects are often an excellent whole-body workout and infinitely cheaper than going to the gym.
Will I fit in?
That is very much up to you, but we are a friendly group that forms a pretty broad cross section of society - male/female, single/married, young/old, black/white, silly/sensible ... The ability to appreciate and tolerate the warped sense of humour of some of our regulars can be an asset, alternatively we suggest you just sit on them till they go quiet. If you think you would like to come along but are not quite sure, why not phone our organiser and talk things over.
Why not just leave nature to look after itself?
A good question. In some circumstances non-intervention is indeed the right policy, but conservationists in Southeast England are always up against the difficulty that the sites they manage are relatively small and under a lot of visitor pressure. If we are to keep the wildlife interest of such places intact, careful management is necessary to counteract the human pressures and in many cases to fill in for natural forces that are missing from the modern equation. Examples include too much or too little grazing, absences of natural predators, or the presence of introduced species that outcompete and replace native wildlife.
Don’t volunteers just take paid jobs away from people?
Emphatically not. The countryside is just bursting with jobs that need to be done but sadly there is often nobody able to pay for them. Volunteers complement the work of the paid staff of nature conservation bodies, and work alongside them.
What are projects like - how we work
A typical working party would have around 10 people, but that does vary depending on the time of year, the weather, what alternative attractions are happening that weekend, and so forth.
On most worksites we are met by a ranger or warden who is knowledgeable about the area and will explain exactly what we are asked to do and the reasons for the work. The SHCV leader will demonstrate how to use the tools provided to work safely and effectively. After that, most of the group will get on with the work while some lucky person is delegated to get the kettle on.