Student Volunteering Week: Land-based volunteering
Volunteers creating a path

Published on

February 11 2020

Thinking of volunteering in your spare time between studies but not sure where to start? As part of Student Volunteering Week, we’ve compiled this guide to volunteering in the land-based industry, covering the many varied roles to choose from, benefits of volunteering and which sectors you can volunteer in.

There are a whole host of benefits to volunteering whilst studying; whether that’s gaining new experiences and skills, boosting your CV and confidence or helping get your foot in the door in sought after sectors such as wildlife conservation.

Not only do you gain practical benefits, but there’s also the feel-good factor of giving back to others, along with meeting new people and the added benefit of boosting your health and wellbeing.


Volunteering Roles

With so many varied opportunities out there, it’s best to start with something you’re passionate about. Depending on your current field of studies, you could help with practical work parties, scientific surveys or outdoor education. Or if you fancy something more indoors, there’s always administration support, fundraising, visitor management or even social media teams to help support.

Normally you can give as little or as much time as you have to spare. Equally, if you have more time on your hands and would like to get more involved, placements or traineeships are available with certain organisations. They’re also a great entry into a dedicated vocation if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing after completing your studies.


Land-based sectors to volunteer in:

1. Aboriculture

There’s so much more to arboriculture than cutting down trees! There’s a whole raft of opportunities available including:

  • Practical work parties with a ranger/warden
  • Tree surveys and inspections
  • Bat surveys
  • Visitor walks
  • Tree planting
  • Helping with fundraising and events

Charities and organisationsThe Woodland Trust, The Wildlife Trust, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), The National Trust & local council work groups.

Looking up at a canopy of tree

2. Horticulture

  • Planting and maintaining displays
  • Creating wildlife gardens
  • Maintaining conservation areas
  • Helping with fundraising and events
  • Admin and marketing

Charities and organisationsThe National Trust, English Heritage, Royal Horticultural Society, Botanical gardens, Community gardens.

People planting

3. Greenkeeping

  • Greenkeeping volunteer: raking bunkers, divotting fairways and litter control etc
  • Planting and maintaining displays
  • Events volunteer support team
  • Marketing and admin support

Charities and organisations: Greenkeepers Benevolent Fund (BIGGA), England Golf and local councils.

Man mowing a field

4. Animal care

  • Hospital support volunteer
  • Reception support
  • Puppy/dog walker
  • Livestock checkers
  • Helping with fundraising and events
  • Marketing and admin support

Charities and organisations: Guide Dogs for the Blind, RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross, The Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, The Wildlife Trust, Community Farms

Cocker Spaniel in the forest

5. Wildlife and Habitat Conservation

  • Practical work parties
  • Community gardens
  • Helping with fundraising and events
  • Wildlife surveys
  • Outdoor education sessions
  • Guided walks
  • Visitor centre support team

Charities and organisations: The Wildlife Trust, RSPB, The National Trust, The Woodland Trust, The Conservation Volunteer, Butterfly Conservation, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Marine Conservation Society.

Different components of a bug hotel

For more information on volunteering opportunities near you, the Countryside Jobs Service is a great resource, compiling all of the current vacancies in one handy list.