We were delighted to be able to welcome our volunteers back in June 2021, and they really hit the ground running.
The conservation volunteers have been working on bank repairs along the River Bulbourne and the canal. Where previous bank reinforcements (usually made from hardcore and corrugated tin) have begun to fail, they have been installing woody bundles, which are designed to catch sediment and allow for bankside vegetation to root into them, eventually rotting down to become part of the natural bank. This work is vital to help our new resident water voles, as they build burrows into the banks which are at risk of collapsing where they are eroding, and they cannot burrow through metal. The bundles have been made from hazel and willow that the volunteers coppiced at Bovingdon Brickworks as part of the work to prolong the life of these fast-growing trees, and to create better age structure of the scrub on the site.
They have also been assisting with cutting back vegetation along the fence lines of Bovingdon Reach in preparation for the installation of new fencing around the field, which should prevent dogs that can slip through the existing wire from the woodland into the field. It should also stop our lambs from escaping when they become curious about whether the grass is greener on the other side of the fence!
Our Community Engagement volunteers have helped with getting Youth and Mini Rangers sessions back up and running, supporting by spending one-to-one time with any children that might need it, but also offering their knowledge and expertise to the children while they learn about the natural world. They have also helped us with running bat walks and wildflower walks and ran school visits and pond dipping sessions for us throughout the year.
Behind the scenes, a hardy few have also been working their way through many, many boxes of paperwork on the history of the Box Moor Trust kindly donated to us, looking at old photos, diaries and letters to pick out items for our archives. We have also had volunteers helping us with the day-to-day running of the Estate, filling up bird feeders, cleaning water troughs and livestock trailers, gardening and litter picking.
There are exciting new opportunities coming up soon, such as wildlife monitoring and weekend work parties. Our wildlife monitoring for the year kicked off with amphibian surveys in March, following training from the Herts Amphibian and Reptile group. This information will help us with the habitat management of our ponds and wetlands to identify what species we have, and how well they’re currently doing, so we can work out if we need to do more to help them thrive.
If you would like to get involved, please contact us for more information, or head to our website to fill out an application form. We have new volunteer ‘meet and greet’ sessions every two months and we would be delighted to hear from you.