The second of our volunteer insights comes from Freya who has been volunteering for 2 years at St Nicks, helping with events and leading the Ecotherapy Bearing Fruit sessions. I caught up with Freya to see what appeals to her about volunteering at St Nicks.
What is your role at St Nicks and what does that involve?
At St Nicks I work on the Ecotherapy project which includes various sessions that people can come to, to improve their mental health. The group I work with is called ‘Bearing Fruit’ and we look after the fruit trees on site and the habitats surrounding them. We carry out various practical conservation tasks such as managing wildflower meadows, removing invasive species, planting native species, pruning the fruit trees and generally helping to make the site better for wildlife and people that come to enjoy it.
I also help with various children’s activities at St Nicks which involve getting children interested and excited about nature through activities such as pond dipping, minibeast hunting, nature walks, identification and exploring!
Why do you volunteer?
So that I can do what I love! I love making a difference to people and to nature so volunteering at St Nicks covers that completely. It’s really amazing to see a patch of bare ground that you have sown with seeds suddenly turn into a beautiful wildflower meadow or to hear someone say how much happier they feel after coming to a session or to see a child so excited to have caught a newt in the pond. There are always so many little things that make it incredibly rewarding.
Do you enjoy volunteering at St Nicks and why?
I love volunteering at St Nicks! I love the groups I work with and seeing other people get so much enjoyment out of the reserve makes me really happy.
Have you learnt anything through volunteering?
I’ve learnt about how and why the site is managed and I’ve improved my identification and conservation skills.
I’ve also learnt how to lead various groups which was something I was nervous about when I first started but now I feel much more confident. I’ve been here for over two years now but still feel like I’m learning all the time.
What has been a highlight of volunteering here?
Gaining enough skills and experience to enable me to get paid work doing something I love. That would have been much harder to get if I hadn’t had the same volunteering opportunity.
How would you describe St Nicks to someone who has not been here before?
A wonderful and accessible place where you can come to explore, relax, learn new things, make new friends, and simply enjoy being in nature.
If you think you would benefit from volunteering or Ecotherapy. Why not get in touch to find out more?