One of the joys of working outdoors is that it’s not always glamorous, sometimes it even feels like you’re digging a big hole just to fill it back in again…
Last Thursday I was invited to join The Conservation Volunteers (Formerly known as BTCV) on one of their reclaiming green-spaces projects. This particular project involved the upkeep of a community allotment. Now although I do have a special interest in grow your own this isn’t really the sort of work I’m used to but conservation officers oversee a wide range of project.
TCV is not just about reclaiming green space for nature supposes but for the benefit of people as well. Studies have shown that derelict sites have a detrimental effect on well-being and are a magnet for anti-social behaviour. A report here by Cabe Space provides case studies.
So what did I get up to? Well as you might have guessed I dug a very long trench along a fence, the purpose of this being to install a rabbit fence to prevent adorable little Lepus curpaeums from eating all of the community’s vegetables.
This involves a standard fence surrounding the enclosed area to be ‘reinforced’ with mesh wiring. The most important thing about a rabbit fence is that it’s buried roughly 6 inches into the ground and bent forward to prevent burrowing.
Much to my amusement once the wire has been buried and securely attached to the enclosure fence the hole is to be filled back in again and raked until relatively level. Grumble as I might I couldn’t help but spend the entire time with a grin on my face.
The team I was working with were chatty and genuinely excited to be there, some of them volunteer 3 days a week and are even working towards a diploma in land-based Environmental Conservation.
TCV is one of my favourite charities for general conservation work. I have spoken to a lot of people who say that TCV have genuinely changed their lives, including a young women who I filmed as part of a documentary last year.