Bristol, winner of the European Green Capital Award and renowned for its sustainable, local and ethical ethos, is teeming with environmental and green volunteering opportunities. Here are five of our favourites.
1) Hands-on conservation volunteering with Avon Wildlife Trust
The Avon Wildlife Trust has a broad range of voluntary roles, including in their office, as a ranger and outdoor group conservation days. The Trust will transport you to green spaces in the city or to their sites across the former county of Avon. You’ll get your hands dirty as you get to grips with traditional conservation tools and learn how local landscapes are managed. Similarly, The Forestry Commission run conservation volunteer days in Bristol’s woodlands, such as Leigh Woods.
2) Community gardening with Incredible Edible Bristol and Feed Bristol
Incredible Edible Bristol turn urban spaces into places where fruit and vegetables are freely available. You’ll work in their gardens and vegetable beds in both familiar and unusual parts of the city, and be involved in creating a crop-friendly cityscape. Another option is volunteering with Feed Bristol, Avon Wildlife Trust’s community garden in Frenchay, where everything is grown organically and in partnership with wildlife.
3) City farming in St Werburghs and Windmill Hill
Help bring the farm to city dwellers by growing crops and rearing livestock, such as goats and pigs, whilst being a friendly face for visitors. St Werburghs City Farm and Windmill Hill City have lots of opportunities and busy programmes of events to get involved in. Get your wellies on now.
4) Restoring wood with the Bristol Wood Recycling Project
With the Bristol Wood Recycling Project, you’ll ride a van across Bristol to rescue safe and usable wood before it reaches landfill, pull nails and sort timber in their yard, and even help craft new products in their workshop. Volunteering with these guys will give you valuable and practical skills in woodworking and power tools, whilst giving your body a good workout. Lunch, training and equipment are all included, but expect to wait 3 months for an induction.
A neat idea for addressing waste from food production, gleaning here means going out onto farms and harvesting perfectly good food that is normally wasted and giving it to people who need it. Why is it wasted? Because of quotas constraints, market prices making it unprofitable to sell, and, most sadly, because of its looks. Although gleaning is most established in Sussex and the South East, it’s worth signing up to Feedback’s Bristol gleaning network, and Bristol Food Producers or Bristol Food Network who sometimes organise gleans.
These suggestions are the tip of the iceberg – Bristol is full of green, ethical and community-oriented volunteering opportunities. Check out Ecojam’s job board for specific voluntary roles in Bristol.
Article by Tom Stevens
Photo credit: Hannah Watson