I had been meaning to do some volunteering for a long time and I had really wanted the nature of that volunteering to be conservation. Caring for the environment means a lot to me and I felt that it would be more productive to do something rather than sit and complain about it. I spent about four very satisfying planting trees along in embankment and must have planted about 20 trees over the course of the afternoon.
The volunteering that I did was run by Red Rose Forest, a project to make Manchester greener and also by One Green World, an organisation that helps communities to create green spaces. Together the small group planted a mass of Hawthorn and Blackthorn trees along an embankment for Garden Needs, an independent garden centre in Salford. Not only was volunteering on my goal list, but I have also always wanted to plant a tree - so planting about 20 knocked that one off the list.
Apart from the odd shower the rain mostly held off, but it was still very slippery as we climbed up and down the wet embankment fetching tools and samplings. These wet areas were not too bad to dig, although our shovels got caked in mud. But some areas, especially up near the road were underlaid with a mixture of chunks of brick and tree roots, making for very tough work. But it was all worth the effort.
It felt good to be helping the environment and doing something for the community, but on top of this once the Hawthorns flower next spring there will be a wall of blossom to welcome walkers to Kersal Vale. This is a lovely thought. It will be nice to go down there at Christmas to collect wreath decorating materials (as we usually do as part of the Garden Needs Christmas festivities) and see the trees growing and watch them blossom in the spring, knowing that we played our part in planting them.
It was a tough job to start my volunteering career, but it was all worth while and the hard work made it all the more satisfying once a tree was planted and I could move on to the next. One of the Garden Needs volunteers also provided everyone with a very tasty veggie curry for lunch to keep us going into the afternoon.
I can safely say that I would do this type of volunteering again and will look for opportunities in the future. If you would like to do this type of volunteering it is work Googling for conservation charities and organisation in your area, or checking the events of pages of local social enterprises that might host this sort of event. If you are in the Manchester area, Red Rose Forest, One Green World and Garden Needs are all linked above if you would like to check out what they do.