Volunteering

Ways to Help the Mendip Hills AONB

Sammy Fraser is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Blackdown Hills, all nationally protected as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. She will be working with each AONB team to help people get involved in these special areas

This is a great example of the three AONBs in Somerset working together for the environment and for the community. Sammy will work two days a week in the Mendip and Quantock Hills and then one day a week in the Blackdown Hills.

Young Rangers

The Mendip Hills AONB Young Ranger Scheme has been running since 2005. It is a two year programme with an intake of 15 young people from local schools aged 11-15. On completion of the programme the Young Rangers can move on to become Advanced Young Rangers.  Once they reach 18 years of age Advanced Young Rangers can become AONB Volunteer Rangers undertaking a range of tasks in the AONB.

The scheme aims to equip young people from local schools and the community to be the future guardians of this special and unique area. It provides them with the confidence, knowledge and skills to be able to promote, preserve and protect the special features of the AONB. We will provide them with life skills that are translatable in the real world and will enhance their future prospects. Finally, we want the scheme to be a life changing experience for them, providing a safe and fun experience that develops them as people.

What do we want them to understand?
· What special features the AONB is designated for
· What role the Mendips AONB unit plays
· The techniques and skills used to preserve and protect these features
· The value of the AONB for people, wildlife and heritage
· The human story of the AONB- past and present
· What makes a career in conservation?
· How to use the skills they have gained to enhance their future development

What do our Young Ranger’s get up to?
Our Young Ranger’s take part in a wide variety of activities during their time with us including first aid and navigation training, completion of the John Muir award, conservation tasks, wildlife surveys, adventure activities and community outreach work- and more!

Advanced Young Rangers
Our Advanced Young Rangers take on more responsibility, helping to run the Young Ranger scheme and gaining more experience to help them secure employment in the conservation sector.

Young Ranger Assistants
We have fantastic volunteers who help us run the sessions – providing support for the Volunteer Coordinator who runs the scheme.

Current volunteering opportunities are outlined below.  If there is nothing suitable for you at the moment why not sign up to our newsletter to hear about new volunteering opportunities and get other news about the AONB.

AONB Practical Task Volunteers

Our practical task volunteers carry out conservation tasks throughout the Mendip Hills AONB. No experience necessary, all instruction and tools supplied. Tasks are scheduled fortnightly on Wednesdays, 10.00am – 3.00pm. New volunteers are always welcome with a smile and tea & biscuits!

October to December Task Programme 2018(PDF Download 170KB)

Booking is essential so we have the right amount of equipment and can contact volunteers with the latest information. If you would like further details please email to Mendip Volunteers or phone Sammy Fraser 01761 462338

AONB Events and Publicity Volunteers

Events and Publicity Volunteers represent the Mendip Hills AONB at shows and events, to provide information and advice to visitors. Volunteers will also be involved in distributing visitor leaflets and providing face to face contact with local partners and businesses. Volunteers are encouraged to put forward suggestions of events and in the development of the AONB Events Programme.

Events and Publicity Volunteer Role Outline

AONB Guided Walks

Could you lead a walk and share your ‘specialist subject’? We’re looking for people who have in-depth knowledge of a particular topic on the Mendip Hills. Our guided walks promote greater understanding of the landscapes, wildlife and heritage of the AONB. They are accompanied by one of our Volunteer Rangers and will be promoted through the AONB Events programme, however you would also be involved in planning and developing new guided walks.s.

Volunteer for Guided Walks Role Outline

 

AONB Volunteer Rangers

Our Volunteer Rangers provide a visible presence in the Mendip Hills AONB, to assist the AONB Unit in conserving, enhancing and promoting the appropriate use and enjoyment of the area. They provide a point of contact for visitors out on the ground and report back any issues to the AONB Unit.

Volunteer Ranger Role Outline

 

Hours Contributed

2017-18

Volunteer Rangers –  1,022
Practical Tasks Volunteers – 1,161
Volunteer Young Ranger Assistant – 123
Other groups/Individuals – 1,214

2016-17

Volunteer Rangers –  1,309
Practical Tasks Volunteers – 861
Volunteer Young Ranger Assistant – 91
Other groups/Individuals – 118

Not sure whether to volunteer, here’s some advice from a current member of the team

Finding some spare time on my hands, I wanted to do something worthwhile, something exciting, something I had never done before. Having been an “office waller” all my working life, I decided the great outdoors was where I should go next. Just to see. I have always loved walking, and am passionate about living in Somerset, so the Mendip AONB seemed a good place to start.

My first foray into volunteering ended up being to help to build a dry stone wall on one of the reserves near Cheddar, the site of a Roman lead works. I prepared everything the day before, clothe, lunch, the all important flask of tea. I couldn’t believe my luck when the day dawned, the sun rising high in the sky, and absolute perfect summer day.

The group were really welcoming, and I learned a lot that day; about dry stone walling, Roman ruins, teamwork and quite a bit about myself too. My career had tied me to a laptop for hours a day; I found I absolutely loved doing practical things, being outdoors, learning new skills, and I was just about passable at it. The group leaders were very knowledgeable about the site, which I didn’t even know existed, despite living in Somerset most of my adult life.

So to anyone thinking about joining Mendip AONB as a volunteer, I would say take a leaf from the Nike book, just do it!
Fi, Mendip Hills Volunteer

If you are aged 18 or over and think you might be interested in one of the above volunteering roles simply email us Mendip Hills AONB, Contact Us or fill out an Application Form and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

To find out more about volunteering in the Quantock Hills AONB or Blackdown Hills AONB you can visit Quantock Hills AONB or Blackdown Hills AONB Volunteering