Conservation volunteering in Scotland

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Conservation volunteering in Scotland

Environment

As an environmental charity, the sole purpose of our Conservation Weeks is to carry out practical forest conservation. We have been working for over 25 years to actively restore the Caledonian Forest and protect its many associated flora and fauna species. To date we have planted over 1.2 million trees, fostered the natural regeneration of many thousand more and have increased the safe movement of wildlife by removing 100s of kilometres of redundant fencing.

Every volunteer who books a place on one of our Conservation Weeks can be safe in the knowledge that the work they are doing now will have a lasting impact on the environment for many years to come. We work in conjunction with other conservation bodies such as the RSPB, National Trust for Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland to carry out work on their land, in line with their management plans.

Trees for Life has a strong environmental policy. The food we provide on our Conservation Weeks is vegetarian and largely organic. All fruit and vegetable scraps are composted for use in our own tree nursery. Our office is based in an eco-village that produces its own wind-generated electricity and we use energy efficient lighting and heating. We recycle as much of our office and Conservation Week waste as possible, use double-sided printing techniques and reuse envelopes. Environmentally friendly inks are used for all our printed materials.

Community

Every year, a significant amount of money goes directly back in to local communities as a result of our Conservation Weeks. We rent local accommodation, buy supplies from local shops and encourage volunteers to visit local amenities on their day off. In 2014, just under £30,000 was spent this way.

Because of the practical aspect of the weeks, we are actively improving the local countryside. For an area that relies heavily on its scenery to bring in the tourist trade, our Conservation Weeks are bringing long term benefits both locally and globally.

Reviews of Conservation volunteering in Scotland

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Meeting so many different people and doing 'work' for the greater good of Scotland's forest.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Enjoy getting in touch with nature and having an interest for conservation - whether itís a general interest or a passion, I think this will help.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good and very rewarding. Met some great & interesting people, understanding & learning how to live as a 'family' for a week and getting in touch with nature was very enjoyable. I also love Scotland so it meant a lot I could be there whilst helping restore the Caledonian forest.

Reviewed on 19 Jun 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Meeting a wide range of like minded people. Spending a lovely sunny day in an ancient Scottish forest counting Scottish pine trees....wow...a renewed love for my country.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't forget your midge repellent...

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Definitely..we all spent money in the area...Also we all used public transport to reach our meeting point.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I would say because it was conservation and well being, it had a good balance of work and health. Since my return I have continued being vegetarian and have made several improvements to my life. Great experience and no downsides whatsoever.

Reviewed on 07 Jun 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Come the end of the week we were all a little tired from the work, but also very proud of what we had done. Driving back to the lodge we came across a stunning natural pool and waterfall which we just could not resist and so dived (almost) right in and spent time relaxing among new friends. That and constantly swimming to try and stay warm!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


It's very well organised, so if you follow the instructions and bring the comprehended gear you will be fine! One thing that was missing was a radio / CD / MP3 speakers, but while then not having them added to the community spirit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we brought some extra income to the area (especially the local bar and shop) and helped to restore the Great Caledonian Forest. This not only improves the habitat for wildlife but also for us to enjoy and can bring more tourism (properly managed) to the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was a great holiday, where I managed to forget all about the stresses of work for a week. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, but I made some great friends who have given me a slightly different perspective on life.

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The beauty of the Isle of Skye.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take plenty of waterproofs! And interesting snacks.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It benefited the environment directly and therefore local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I had a great week. The rain hampered how much we could get done, but this didn't bother me. The hostel wasn't the best but was OK. People were very mixed and interesting. The leaders were really nice but a bit indecisive at times - this was frustrating sometimes.

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