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5 Jun 2019

Colin’s a conservation champion

Written by Colin Speirs
Colin Speirs, Conservation Volunteer
Colin Speirs, Conservation Volunteer
In celebration of Volunteers’ Week 2019, we’re highlighting the work of our volunteers. Colin Speirs volunteers with the Glasgow Conservation Volunteer Group. Here he tells us what it means to be a Conservation Volunteer.

I volunteer for the Trust with the Glasgow Conservation Volunteer Group and I also volunteer at Geilston Garden in Cardross, near Helensburgh.

I was a member of the Trust when I was younger but lapsed for longer than I care to admit. However, I joined up again around three years ago and while looking through the Trust’s website noticed the Conservation Volunteers page (5 volunteer groups across the country) and thought it would be a great thing to get involved in as I love the outdoors but spend my 9–5 Monday to Friday behind a desk.

“I attended one of the Glasgow Conservation Volunteer Group’s meetings, was welcomed with open arms, and the rest is history!”
Colin Speirs
Volunteer, Glasgow Conservation Volunteers Group

As I mentioned, the Trust has five local Conservation Volunteer Groups – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The Glasgow group has around 180 members who will come out, when they can, to help at different properties. We have people ranging from early 20s to err ... people with lots of life experience! The main thing we all have in common is a love of the outdoors and a love of making a difference, whether it be in a garden, a wooded area or up a mountain in the pouring rain.

Myself and the other members love the variety of places we get to work in and the stories the staff can tell us about the locations. There’s also the interaction with visitors who compliment the members on the work they do and the fact we volunteer for the benefit of the Trust.

Glasgow Conservation Volunteers litter picking on the A82 at Glencoe
Glasgow Conservation Volunteers litter-picking on the A82 at Glencoe

A few projects we worked on recently were:

  • The Hill House (during The Box build) – helping to tidy up the garden
  • Newhailes – removing vegetation from the Ladies’ Walk
  • Glencoe (a joint project with Highland group) – litter-picking on the A82
  • Geilston Garden – helping the property to get ready to open for the new season, which included re-gravelling the visitor paths
Glasgow Conservation Volunteers outside the Hill House Box
Glasgow Conservation Volunteers outside the Hill House Box

You’ll notice everyone is smiling in the photos – while it’s true there’s a camera pointing at us, you’ll find that everyone is happy anyway as we’re outside doing something for no other reason than simple pleasure. Having said that, a free cup of tea and a caramel wafer does add to the experience!

A free cup of tea and a caramel wafer adds to the volunteering experience
A free cup of tea and a caramel wafer adds to the volunteering experience.

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