In over five decades of inspiring people and improving places, The Conservation Volunteers has consistently supported people working locally to improve their environment and their life chances, and created resilience in the most vulnerable communities.

Welcome to The Conservation Volunteers blogs. Where we share what we do.

Highlights of Month Three and a Trip to the Yorkshire Dales

Highlights of Month Three and a Trip to the Yorkshire Dales


It’s now the third month of my Buglife traineeship and the biggest highlight was getting to go on my first Field Studies Council training course, staying at Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales for 4 days. Working on a freshwater project with Buglife and spending a lot of my time in and around ponds it only made sense to get up to speed with the world of freshwater invertebrates.

I spent much of the rest of the month planning my TCV solo project which will be based in the Southside of Glasgow and something I’m really looking forward to … Continue reading

Train Hard, Snail Hard: Highlights from June

Train Hard, Snail Hard: Highlights from June

Hello again, 

It’s already the second month of my traineeship which signaled the start of the school outreach programme attached to the Marvellous Mud Snails Buglife project. I’ve been on some really fun school visits in the last few weeks, plus the site visits to go out and record the current Mud Snail populations are also in the diary. I’m also hoping to get out and survey some potential sites and look for ideal places to re-locate and release the captive reared snails at the beginning of next year.

I realised that this month also marked the beginning of me … Continue reading

Micro Moths of the Month

Micro Moths of the Month

The month of June has been an incredible month of moth surveying!! From the windy and rainy Highlands to the…… windy and rainy Borders.

I attended the Scottish Entomological Gathering (SEG) in Eyemouth, right down at the border with England. Entomologists met up from all over Scotland to share their knowledge and to survey the local area; it was a great opportunity to meet experienced moth experts and learn all I could from them. Over three days my team managed to record 479 moths and 103 different species!!

One of rarest species we located was the Dew Moth. A nationally scarce A … Continue reading

June on the rocky shore

June on the rocky shore

Summer is already here! And with it, so many exiting things!

First week: Phase 1 habitat survey training (TCV-Edinburgh)

The main focus of the course was to learn how to assess a habitat type using the Phase 1 survey methodology, to map and write this up competently and to understand how to read Phase 1 habitat maps. We spent most part of our time outdoors, learning about different habitats and tips to recognise them quickly. I totally recommend this course, I learnt a lot!

Second week. Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre

I was lucky to spend two days this week at … Continue reading

Month Three as a Natural Talent Trainee

Month Three as a Natural Talent Trainee

As the months go by, my time as a Natural Talent Trainee just seems to get better and better! I am continuously learning and developing, and having the best time while doing so. This month has brought some beautiful weather meaning I have spent a lot of time out in the field, which is always enjoyable in the gorgeous sunshine.

At the beginning of the month I visited the nearest TCV office at the Tree Life Centre, in Bristol. I met with Project Officer Karis who showed me around the wonderful community tree nursery. I spent some time with the … Continue reading

Time flies when you’re hunting for snails – Month Two at Buglife

Time flies when you're hunting for snails - Month Two at Buglife

Hello again, and first of all sorry, as things might turn a bit hashtag blessed in a minute…

The last month has been about getting out and meeting people, with a big focus on my personal development in terms of what I’m learning and what skills I can see myself using in the future. Only 2 months into the TCV traineeship and I already feel it’s one of the most valuable things I’ve ever had the privilege of being involved in. Each day is exciting, genuinely in the sense that there’s a world of opportunities for me to access – … Continue reading

A second month of nature and events!

A second month of nature and events!

Another busy month with several important events to organize and celebrate!

Encountering the unexpected

This project is a recent development set up to engage people aged 60 and over, with nature that they can find local to them, as part of Nature on your Doorstep.

The project is delivered in sessions and I was part of the Seaside themed second session. This was a huge success, everyone really enjoyed it and learnt a lot. I could show my beach finds, gathered from surveying, and listen to others share their memories of the beach.

Conchology specialist … Continue reading

Watch out World!…..

Watch out World!.....

It’s only a couple of weeks since my first blog…but just like when going invertebrate hunting, my perception of time goes awry! The sun just keeps on shining in Shropshire and the rains seems to come mainly whenever I’m camping! The 5am dawn chorus has been my alarm call, and the days are full of wild life from dawn til dusk.

Rich, Charlie and I spent a blissful day on Haughmond Hill, carrying out a National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) survey. This scheme allocates volunteers a specific patch, within which 5 representative square or linear plots are chosen … Continue reading

Moths and Mosses – A Natural Talent Traineeship

Moths and Mosses - A Natural Talent Traineeship

Hello! I’m Ross McIlwrath and I’m one of this year’s Natural Talent Trainees! Over the next year I’ll be studying Micro Moths and Peatlands. My traineeship is based in Stirling with Butterfly Conservation. I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity which will allow me to acquire specialist knowledge over this next year.

Micro moths are a group of animals that have been historically undervalued and under-recorded due to their small size. This makes them difficult to identify and many even need dissected under a microscope to be certain of their species!! However, over half of the 2500 … Continue reading

Spring has sprung in Edinburgh (amongst other places!)

Spring has sprung in Edinburgh (amongst other places!)

We’ve been having a busy couple of months with the Edinburgh Midweek Group this season, having completed several projects in and around Edinburgh and the Lothians, as well as a huge display of teamwork and hard work at the Seven Lochs project in Glasgow where we worked alongside the Stirling and Glasgow volunteers for eight weeks!

Back in February the group started helping out at the beautiful Howden Walled Garden in Livingston. Here our aim was to create an edible walkway around the garden’s walls for the community to enjoy. The first task was to clear the walls and … Continue reading