2019 marks 70 years of National Parks in the UK and the government have designated the year as a National Year of Green Action. This means more opportunities are available than ever for gardeners, bird and animal enthusiasts, or anyone else willing to lend a helping hand in their local national park.
Year of Plenty
A range of special events and activities will be hosted at national parks around the UK in 2019, meaning volunteers will be required to help set up and run them. The work many also include being an enthusiastic face of the national park, showing visitors of all ages around. It has been announced there will be opportunities to inspire groups of children and the disabled in recording wildlife and landscaping at New Forest National Park.
Volunteering at a national park is deeply fulfilling as volunteers get a sense of pride in their work and the help that it provides to the places they cherish. Those who volunteer can add to their CV by being involved in positive social action, as well as learning many skills. Volunteers also have the opportunity to improve their people skills and teamwork by being part of a national project.
Being a volunteer in the Great Outdoors is beneficial for physical and bodily health. Volunteering usually involves physical activity which gets you moving but isn’t too vigorous. Being outside of stuffy houses and classrooms and the polluted air of many of our cities, enables volunteers to breathe in fresher air. Starting in 2019, the government are launching a three-year programme in which the natural environment will be “put at the heart of all local Health and Wellbeing Strategies”, as part of the government’s 25-year Environment Plan.
People of all ages and abilities are welcome to volunteer at national parks, especially young people. The government are making an effort to include 10-18-year-olds in attempts to enhance the nature at national parks, so young people should definitely consider this an option. A social media campaign hashtagged as #iwill aims to increase the participation of young people from all backgrounds in preserving the natural world.
There are social benefits to volunteering in national parks as well, since it’s a great chance to meet new people. Volunteering in groups to achieve a joint goal brings the community of the surrounding areas of national parks together. These communities may be small, and geographically disparate around large national parks, but together they make a vast number of people who can come together for the good of their local wilderness areas.
Being a national park volunteer may be unpaid, but this helps to save your national park thousands of pounds. As entrance fees are increasing to pay for the much-needed conservation of wildlife and nature, volunteers can help to keep the cost down by doing invaluable work free of charge. The added financial benefit for the park is that, in the long run, being a better place to visit with lots of activities going on will attract more paying visitors.