Our fourth article of the week is about Aberystwyth Conservation Volunteers (ACV). Working alongside numerous nature and conservation organisations, these volunteers are nearly always outside (come rain or shine) as part of their weekly tasks! Read more about their volunteering journey so far…
What do you do as a society?
Aberystwyth Conservation Volunteers (ACV) works to both preserve natural spaces across Ceredigion as well as enhance people’s interactions with them. To this end we frequently work with numerous conservation groups and projects such as the RSPB, the National Trust and, more locally, Parc Natur Penglais. We run conservation events twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are highly varied ranging from woodland management to path building and wildlife surveying.
Why do you volunteer?
Our members volunteer with us for a variety of reasons. For many it provides a welcomed break from their studies throughout the week. Often, one can feel like they’re making little progress with university work which can be quite stressful. A day spent with ACV however, always involves making a significant difference, sometimes night and day as seen on our Youtube videos, to a conservation cause which can really improve a person’s feeling of worth and confidence. Others volunteer as a means of gaining valuable work experience if they’re interested in pursuing a career related to land management. Getting into this field, even with a degree, is highly competitive. Volunteering with ACV allows our members to gain both the technical and transferable skills which provide a huge boost for attaining their future career goals. For example, this year one of our members is working for the National Trust as a placement student. This position is often very competitive and the experience gained from working with ACV was essential to her securing the position. Lastly, our society gives an opportunity for many of our members to get outside of Aberystwyth and visit local nature reserves and conservation sites. Students without cars can sometimes feel stuck in Aberystwyth; although it is a fantastic place to live, its remoteness and the occasional lack of public transportation to nearby areas can feel potentially quite isolating. We remedy this by providing frequent trips out of town.
What’s your biggest feel good moment as volunteers?
Our greatest feel good moment as volunteers is seeing the sheer amount of change we can make, often in a single day. The longer-reaching effects of our work are considerable. With our efforts, the projects we work with are both better able to preserve spaces for nature to thrive and provide the general public the opportunity to engage with nature and cultivate a deeper appreciation for local wildlife. However our most significant impact so far has been the work we put into securing funding for the Welsh Heritage Orchard project, along with providing the majority of the labour needed to plant the 250 trees currently thriving at Gogerddan campus. This project has caught the attention of local and national media, most recently being the subject of an article by the BBC (bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51111033). This project has been a massive success and serves as a genetic library for many apple and pear varieties, as well as a resource for new local industries and a community space.
We have many events planned for the second semester as part of our regular biweekly tasks. Saturday events include cutting back a firebreak on the slopes of Pen Dinas to prevent the spread of wildfires come summer, preserving bird habitats at the RSPB site Ynys-Hir and many more. If anyone would like to get involved, but can’t spend a whole day with us, we will also be working in Penglais woods and in the community garden behind the Student’s Union on Wednesday afternoons.
Current Committee: Jordan Stone, Georgia Hancock,Tristan Worssam, Finley Reynolds, Tom Bunce and Iain Place.
If anyone is interested in joining ACV please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our Facebook group. Otherwise feel free to see what we’re up to by following us on our other social media.