Virtual Volunteers – Zoom into action!
Meeting new volunteers
At the end of September we hosted a Zoom meeting for our new cohort of volunteers for our Brynau woodland. A range of volunteers including wardens, livestock monitors, historical researchers and woodland working group members were able to attend. We even managed to video the Zoom and send it to those who couldn’t make it.
Background to the woods
Chris Matts, the site manager, gave some background to the site near Neath Port Talbot. It’s our largest new woodland creation site in Wales at 235 acres or 178 football fields. It’s a PLANT! site which means it will be one of the areas used to plant a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales. This scheme also plants a tree in Uganda for every child. We plan to plant 150,000 trees by 2025.
As well as lots of planting, the Brynau woodland is going to be used to engage local people with wildlife. School and community groups will be able to get involved with the spring and autumn planting each year. We also plan to hold events and activities and of course lots of volunteering opportunities.
There are areas of ancient woodland (at least 400 years old) which will be sensitively restored towards a more diverse habitat with native species. These ancient woodlands are fantastic areas that can support rare species such as the blue ground beetle.
Parkland covers about 30% of the site. Some of these historic areas will be nurtured into wildlife rich meadows with trees and grazing cattle.
The site has been identified as having potential for natural flood mitigation. We will monitor the impact of our conservation work on the flood alleviating capacity of the land.
A warm Woodland Trust welcome
As the Volunteer Development Officer, I welcomed the volunteers to the team and gave them some background on the Trust and the work we do: protect, restore and create!
As well as seeing myself, Chris and Llinos in person the volunteers saw some of the other friendly faces in the Wales team.
As I told our new recruits, ‘Each year the Woodland Trust benefits from around 170,000 volunteer hours which equates to a monetary value of around £1.6 million, so we very grateful to you for joining us to stand up for trees, thank you!’
Author: Martha Boalch, Volunteer Development Officer for Wales
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