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Volunteer Stories

Our volunteers come from all walks of life and have different reasons for volunteering for us.

If you want to find out what it’s like to be a volunteer at Clyde Muirshiel or are looking for some inspiration on what you can do why not take a look at some of our volunteer stories.

Maureen’s Story

Maureen volunteers with the Castle Semple Conservation Volunteers

I started volunteering a in January 2016 after completing Branching out and achieving the John Muir award as part of a group. Our group consisted of people suffering from mental health issues and I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder with social anxiety and depression.

Participating in the Branching out project helped me improve my social skills, increased my confidence and self worth. It allowed me to learn new skills at a pace I could manage with like minded people, some of them I knew from previous groups.
Following Branching out a few of us decided to carry on doing work out in the fresh air, learning new skills, in an environment we knew and felt comfortable with.

Volunteering, working alongside the Rangers and feeling part of something continues to feed my self compassion and maintain my self confidence and worth. I have learned more about our environment and biodiversity.

I enjoy working in the open air in the country park. Rhoddie bashing, tree tubing, making pathways and being part of the team helping keep the public spaces fresh and clean. Painting the white stones and litter bins at Castle Semple visitors centre was one of the most tedious but comical jobs, everyone passing by stopped to give us advice on how to paint!
Making bird boxes, bat boxes, Christmas decorations, planters, were all very rewarding and enjoyable.

I certainly feel part of a team and look forward to my volunteering on a Thursday afternoon.
Of course one of the best parts of the afternoon has got to be the tea and biscuits after our scheduled task.

Susan’s Story

Susan volunteered with the Rangers at Greenock Cut Visitor Centre, helping out with environmental education, biological surveys as well as some practical conservation.

Having graduated from university in July 2011, I set about trying to find a job- a process which took a lot longer than I had anticipated! I soon realised that sitting in front of a computer screen all day every day searching for jobs was not doing me any favours, and I needed a change of scenery in the form of some voluntary work. A chance encounter with Ranger Pete at Greenock’s Tall Ships event put me in touch with Judy, the Senior Ranger at the Greenock Cut Centre. Judy asked me about my interests and suggested activities for me to take part in accordingly, tailoring everything to my needs. All of the staff were extremely friendly, helpful and encouraging, and as a result I began to volunteer more and more. I took part in surveys of butterfly, field vole and wetland bird abundance; I got involved in some practical work making bird, bat and butterfly boxes, and also helped with educational programmes, assisting with activities such as rock pooling and pond dipping.
As a result of my voluntary work at the park, I gained new skills and knowledge, which in turn improved my confidence. Being more active caused my fitness to improve and I even managed to secure a job in the field as a result of the experience I gained. Most importantly, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and would highly recommend it!

 

Ian’s Story

Ian volunteers with the Rangers at the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre as part of the Saturday Practical Conservation Group.

My initial response to the question of ‘Why Volunteer?’ is that I was seeking some physical activity which would help to improve my fitness and for which I would not be discouraged from if the weather conditions were unfavourable.

Having now attended for several weeks, in a variety of weather conditions, I can add that I find it enjoyable and rewarding to be learning from the rangers and other volunteers about the many and varied aspects of countryside management and of the flora and fauna of the area and now also have a better understanding of the amount of work that is required to provide and maintain the facilities that are available around the Greenock Cut area.

It is rewarding to know that each days effort contributes to the on-going plan to improve the amenity for the benefit of the many other users of the Greenock Cut Visitors Centre and surrounding land.

I must also add that the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and will even make a well earned cup of tea for volunteers.

Kathleen’s Story

Kathleen is a long term volunteer at Greenock Cut, heading the Greenock Cut Conservation Volunteers.

I have been volunteering in the park from the 31st January 2013 at the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre. I have gained and learned a lot from my time volunteering, such as carrying out a wide range of conservation and habitat management tasks to a high standard and learning to use a wide range of tools.

I have learned first-hand from the Countryside Rangers how important it is to protect our local wildlife. I have formed very close friendships with all the other volunteers which is great as we now spend time out with volunteering going on wildlife walks together. I am now the first Chair for the Greenock Cut Conservation Volunteers group, allowing me to work closer with the Rangers in planning tasks and applying for grants for the group to buy new tools.

As a result of my volunteering I realised that I wanted to be a Countryside Ranger and now have worked for the National Trust for Scotland and Clyde Muirshiel as a Seasonal Ranger, although I still volunteer on my days off with the Greenock Cut Conservation Volunteers. It’s great to volunteer as you meet like-minded people and learn so much about the countryside. I have found it has improved my physical health and mental wellbeing as well.

 

 

 

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