Every year, the WWF estimates that up to 10,000 species of animal or plant life become extinct. Whether at home or abroad, there are huge conservation efforts going on all the time covering vast and varied areas of our planet. From wildlife conservation in countries across Asia and Africa, to protecting the UK's native woodland, there are so many different causes you can choose to get involved with.
WHY VOLUNTEER WITH A CONSERVATION CHARITY?
For many people, conservation is one of the most important causes imaginable. Whether it's an innate sense of responsibility to protect our environment and the life within it, or you are seeking new experiences while travelling around the world, there are many reasons why you may be thinking of donating your time to conservation efforts.
Whatever your motivation, lots of charities like The Conservation Volunteers are always looking for volunteers. The array of roles you could take on is wide-ranging, so there's the opportunity to really get something out of your volunteering experience in terms of life skills, too.
HOW TO HELP CONSERVATION CHARITIES
BECOME A CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER
Whether it's on land or at sea, conservation campaigns and appeals are hugely important for raising the awareness needed to bring about change – as well as to raise funds. From handing out leaflets, helping at events, writing petitions or spreading the word across your various social media pages, there's lots you can do to support particular campaigns that are close to your heart.
In 1800, there were only one billion humans around the world. Now there are over 7.7 billion of us, with this figure expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. This huge rise in population has undoubtedly placed pressure on ecosystems around the world, and there are countless ways you could help reverse this damage. Whether it's limiting harm to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, preventing the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia, or contributing to the efforts of charities like African Parks, there are organisations that can help you find a volunteering role in countries around the globe.
BRANCH OUT INTO THE WOODS
Charities such as the Woodland Trust strive to maintain the UK's woods and the wildlife that calls them home. Whether your fingers are getting greener by the minute actively working in the woods, or you're monitoring wildlife, recording ancient trees or dealing with admin work, you're sure to find something suitable for your own circumstances and skills.
ADOPT AN ANIMAL
Does the thought of a majestic lion set your pulse racing? Or does your heart melt at the sight of an adorable penguin waddling along in the snow and ice? Sponsoring animals is a great way to support conservation charities, giving you something tangible to go along with your feelings of goodwill. Charities like WWF-UK will give you things like cuddly toys and fact packs which makes animal adoption a popular gift. You can choose an ongoing monthly pledge for your adoption, or make it a one-off donation.
GET INVOLVED WITH RESEARCH
Sometimes, we don't fully understand the impact certain factors are having on local environments and the wildlife dependent on them. This is why research is crucial. It's something you can get involved in a hands-on capacity, by observing the wildlife in your area and reporting back to organisations which then collate and analyse this information.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VOLUNTEER
- Don't be afraid to approach a charity about volunteering even if you only have a little bit of time to spare each week. You may be surprised about what you can do for conservation efforts in an hour or two, or with just a few clicks online.
- If you're thinking of volunteering abroad, most organisations that provide placements have a minimum age requirement of 18. Some countries have different age limits, so check this before you get too far into planning.
WHERE TO GET STARTED
With so many different ideas for how to help conservation charities, you're probably keen to get started. If you're looking for inspiration on exactly what you can do, take a look at the charities below:
- African Parks
- Marine Conservation Society
- The Wildlife Trusts
- ￼The Conservation Volunteers
- Woodland Trust
People's Postcode Lottery players have raised over £32 Million for these great causes so far, and you can also do your bit when you sign up to play.