Case Studies

Aidan Crean at Bog Meadows Aidan Crean at Bog Meadows

Our volunteers come from all walks and stages of life - European Voluntary Service volunteers, university placement students, corporate and social groups of volunteers - and are involved in all aspects of our work.

Victoria McEvoy
Placement Student

Victoria McEvoy, Placement student“As a part of my biology degree, I volunteered full time with Ulster Wildlife. Before I started, I had no idea what career or pathway I wanted to take. I always thought working in conservation was for cheetah huggers and turtle lovers; I didn’t realise just how much work was being done to help wildlife and habitats in Northern Ireland.

“My volunteering experience has been invaluable for my future career and has given me so many opportunities to increase my knowledge and skills, which include everything from marine mammal identification to improving my presentation skills. In university the thought of giving any sort of presentation struck fear to my very soul, but now I have a lot more confidence and actually enjoy giving presentations! I have made a lot of friends during my time at Ulster Wildlife and look forward to many more years of volunteering.”

 

David Gibson
Event and Fundraising Volunteer

David Gibson, Event and fundraising volunteer - in the middle“Retired and looking at various options to keep me out of mischief, I became a volunteer with Ulster Wildlife in 2006. Ten years on, I am still doing it, still enjoying it and would definitely recommend it as a worthwhile way of whiling away a few hours.

Initially, I was involved in butterfly recording. Over the last number of years, I have switched to helping with promotional stands at public events, aimed at raising awareness of Ulster Wildlife’s work for local wildlife. These range from Spring Fairs, Family Fun Days and Festival and Community Events, in a variety of interesting locations.

A staff member looks after membership promotion at such events, but equally important is the drive to interest children and young people in nature through craft activities. This is where the volunteer comes in - materials are provided and no outstanding artistic ability is required! Most of the events are over weekends or bank holidays and you can choose the time slot that suits. The company and the craic are good! So why not give it a try.”

 

Joe Furphy
President of Ulster Wildlife

Joe Furphy, Council Member“In my Civil Service days I conducted survey work, site and staff management, mainly leading to the establishment of the series of National Nature Reserves, so when I retired, it seemed to be a good idea to offer my experiences to Ulster Wildlife.

So what have I done? I was a member of Council for many years and served on sub-committees, and was privileged to be Chairman for some of those years, and to represent Ulster Wildlife on the Council of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. But there are other ways in which I have helped (at least I think I have helped!) including manning the stand at some of our functions, educational activities and supermarket bag-packing. These can be great fun and give the opportunity to enthuse young people (and often their parents) regarding the wonders of the natural environment around them.

So, if you can handle a pen or computer better than a shovel, if you would be happier offering administration or clerical experience rather than doing practical conservation work, then contact the office and give that type of volunteering a try! I have been working, full-time or in retirement, with wildlife for over fifty years and I am as enthusiastic as ever. Volunteering had been really good for me, and will be good for you, for the community and for the environment!”

 

Charmaine Beer,
Bloomfield Wildlife Watch Leader

Charmaine Beer, Wildlife Watch Leader “I have been a volunteer Wildlife Watch Leader for about 15 years in East Belfast. I love seeing young people get out in nature and am amazed by their vast knowledge of the planet. They see the value of nature clearly and when we spend time with children outdoors they come alive in a way that they don't always in an indoor classroom setting, sharing a stream of lively ideas.

Our group enjoy doing practical things in Orangefield Park, as well has having passion for global issues like climate, marine litter and water pollution. We have planted hundreds of trees and wildflowers, been snorkelling and rockpooling, explored forests and rivers, counted bats and bugs, picked litter, been on Radio Ulster, made self portraits in mud - and still have plenty of things left to do!”