The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) is a community volunteering charity that help improve and promote local woodlands. Last year, I had the pleasure of doing an internship with TCV in which I helped on a woodland improvement project for Lousehill Copse in Tilehurst. My official role was Woodland Heritage Project Officer. As a second-year geography student interested in conservation, this was a brilliant way to gain experience related to my degree and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
During my internship, I got involved in all sorts of tasks across many different projects – a key benefit of doing an internship with a smaller organisation. I co-design a leaflet and information board for Lousehill Copse which tells visitors about the history and wildlife in the woodland. I helped organise and run a pond dipping event where local children could come and learn about the creatures in the water. I engaged with volunteers through social media during the first lockdown. I was also able to get involved in some practical conservation tasks, such as installing steps and planting trees.
Through my internship, I was able to help enhance and raise awareness of the hidden gem that is Lousehill Copse. My work improved access to the woodland, increased understanding of the woodland and its wildlife, and generally encouraged local people to visit. I also identified and registered two oak trees within the woodland as veteran, which gives them greater protection. I genuinely feel that I made a positive impact with my internship, which is an incredible feeling.
The benefits of my internship are numerous. I increased my confidence, communication skills, and independent working when I had to work from home during the lockdown. I developed my teamwork and practical conservation skills when working out in the woodland. Arranging events improved my organisational and event management skills. I gained new contacts and valuable experience that I was able to draw on in an interview, helping to secure me a job after university.
I would highly recommend this kind of role to others. For those looking to broaden their skillset and gain useful experience, TCV currently has a volunteering vacancy for the role of Green Action Trainee, who will assist in weekly conservation projects (see vacancy). I volunteered for TCV before my internship and I think it was crucial for me securing the role. Best of luck!