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Celebrating the Conservation Team on Volunteers' Week

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The Conservation Team has announced record volunteer numbers.

The Northumberland Coast National Landscape has reached a record number of volunteers, and
engagement hours are more than double what they were this time last year. With Volunteers' Week now underway (from 3-9 June), it’s an ideal opportunity to celebrate the vital support these dedicated members of our community contribute.

The (Northumberland Coast) Conservation Team is a volunteer initiative to protect and regenerate
the Northumberland Coast National Landscape, led by Volunteering and Access Officer Emma Wilson and supported by Countryside Worker Apprentice Ellie Saunders. As the number of people
registering to join the Conservation Team has steadily risen in the past few years, there’s now a
record 200 volunteers on board. That means the team is at maximum capacity for now, and a waiting list will be opened imminently. To illustrate the enormity of this support, volunteer engagement hours have reached a massive 2,907 in 2024 so far, compared to 1,410 in May 2023.

Emma Wilson shares: “Volunteer engagement has more than doubled this year, and participants
have told us directly that the positive effect on their wellbeing is profound. The camaraderie is
infectious and I’ve no doubt, aside from the conservational incentive, this has attracted newcomers
to our growing team. We have gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months.”

The sheer hard work seen includes the removal of 2500kg of waste from over 31 Northumberland
beaches so far this year, with many more clean-ups scheduled. The Conservation Team is also
collating beach wash-up and pollution data, and reporting findings to the Environment Agency and the Marine Conservation Society. Additionally, volunteers do nature recovery tasks, wildlife surveys, habitat management and practical conservation, as well as looking after parts of the Northumberland Coast Path.

The team will soon be on ‘chick watch’ alongside ranger service Space for Shorebirds and surveying the number of seabirds to hatch on the Northumberland Coast. Plus, volunteers recently joined National Trust rangers on Inner Farne to help with breeding preparation for arctic terns by removing old nesting areas and replacing them with fresh beds.

Volunteer Sophie Barber says: “Volunteering with the Conservation Team is an opportunity you
wouldn’t get anywhere else, and it means we’re continuously learning new skills while spending time with friendly, helpful people. It’s a dream come true to be doing such varied activities in the name of conservation every day. Volunteering brings real positivity to my life and it’s a gift to be able to help this way.”

As avid supporters of the Northumberland Coast, volunteers are passionate about caring for the
landscape, serving both current communities and future generations. 

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18 June 2024

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