wild service why nature needs you

Volunteering is a great way to make a difference, as are other ways to volunteer from beach clean-ups to dog-walking to befriending services.

If planting green spaces, learn unsafe plants to avoid near pets. Avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows.

Wild Service: Why Nature Needs You is a rallying call to the new army of nature’s defenders. ‘Wild Service’ is a visionary concept crafted by pioneers of the Right to Roam campaign, which calls for mass reconnection to the land and a commitment to its restoration. In May 2022, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science released a paper to measure 14 European countries on biodiversity, wellbeing and connectedness to nature. Britain came last in each category – showing that are and nature both need help.

Meet a cast of ‘guerilla gardeners’ who neither own the places they protect (not have permission to restore them). But they’re doing it anyway. This book is a celebration of that ‘friendly anarchist’ spirit and a call for others to join in. So whether you live in the countryside or city, and want to protect your local river (or save our native flora) this is your invite to rediscover the power in participation – the sacred in the service. Nick Hayes is a writer, illustrator and printmaker. who has worked for the Literary Review and other publications. He has exhibited at the Hayward Gallery and lives on a canal boat, with no fixed address.

clear paths, plant trees & build dry-stone walls!

TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) is the main national organisation where you can get involved. You can search for opportunities nationwide to undertake work in urban or rural areas, from planting trees and wildflower meadows to building stiles, clearing footpaths and creating food-growing projects. You are supported by a fully trained leader, receive safety briefings and tools/protective clothing to do the job. From wheeling a barrow, to planting saplings to handing out warming cuppas, they’d love you to join them!

clear litter and paint locks on canal banks 

Mancheser canal Lorna Thompson

Lorna Thompson

Canal & River Trust also look for volunteers as part of its Towpath Taskforce to protect our historic canals. From lock-painting to hedge-planting of simply clearing litter and weeding gardens, the taskforce leader will run through what’s to be done, assign tasks and demonstrate safe use of equipment. Wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy shoes and bring a packed lunch. Waterproof clothing or sunscreen is also advised, depending on the weather.

Keep dogs on leads near canals (especially near ducks) and likewise children, as banks can be steep. Don’t swim in canals, as rivers can carry disease. 

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