Do you wonder what you can expect if you turn up to volunteer with the Friends of Chat Moss? Do you know what the most important conservation tool is? Biscuits! A warm beverage and some tasty biscuits. Once in a while there is even cake!
A typical day of volunteering starts with a caffeine and sugar boost while we gather together and catch up (and sometimes shelter from the elements!). Once we are sufficiently energised the day’s leader – usually Mike, the LWT’s Chat Moss Project Officer, otherwise one of the trained and experienced volunteers – will talk us through the plan’s for the day’s work and brief us how to use that day’s selection of tools and any other health & safety applicable to the tasks.
Then we head out onto the moss to get working and chatting. The main winter job is scrub clearance, which prevents succession so that the peat does not dry out and the specialist bog plants have space to grow. In the spring and summer we spend a lot of time planting, helping to cover the bare peat with the sphagnum and plant life that would have been there before the peat extraction. Throughout the year there are various one offs and odd jobs like path maintenance, and a variety of wildlife surveys so that we can keep track of the health of the moss’s biodiversity.
We break for a leisurely lunch about half way through the day and aim to keep a relaxed and fun atmosphere at all times. While some tasks look daunting at first, often you will turn around and be amazed at how much you have achieved in a short space of time. It’s a great way to feel good while doing good!
Our volunteers range from students getting practical experience, to retirees getting some exercise, to people trying to change career, and others simply wanting to spend some time nature or meet new people. We have a good mix of women and men volunteering from near and far. If you don’t drive we can pick you up in Irlam. Trains from Liverpool and Manchester stop at Irlam Station and buses from elsewhere stop near Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Centre. Lancs Wildlife Trust will pay travel expenses of up to £5 a day.
Check the latest details on our Volunteering page