Behind the stunning landscapes and happy visitors to the Eastern Moors, is an activity that quietly continues, less known but highly prized. That activity is volunteering.
The Eastern Moors Partnership, a joint initiative between the National Trust and the RSPB, manages the site, looking after it for people and wildlife. They are a small team with a tall task, one which they cannot do alone if they are to make the Eastern Moors a place that can 'look after itself'. Volunteers however, can help them to achieve just that.
Volunteering on the Eastern Moors comes in all shapes and forms. Ecological monitoring for those who enjoy venturing out across the bog in search of bog asphodel and sundews, stumbling over tussocks in the hope of glimpsing a camouflaged curlew nest and searching the skies for whinchat and the crags for ring ouzels. Hardy volunteers braving all weathers building dry stone walls, bracken bashing and pulling up ragwort during mid-week work parties. With visitors to the moors being a high priority, imaginative volunteers help create innovative events and activities and ensure the moors are accessible for all.
Family Friendly Muck In Days
Recognising the valuable contribution that people of all ages can make to the upkeep of the Eastern Moors, Muck In Days offer family friendly volunteering where up to three generations have been known to spend their precious weekend tree felling, pond surveying and spreading heather seed across the moors.
Within an age that so often gets bad press, teenagers full of enthusiasm and energy get stuck in as Eastern Moors Youth Rangers. Proudly donning their badges as official volunteers, they know their ongoing contributions are recognised and valued.
Turning up once a month on a Sunday afternoon the Youth Rangers get stuck in to tasks that have included ripping out redundant post and wire fencing, pulling up ragwort and surveying wildflower meadows. Tasks directly deliver the Eastern Moors Management Plan, ensuring their efforts are never tokenistic, but real. In return for their commitment, Youth Rangers receive training in the skills of a countryside ranger, including navigation, leading guided walks, wildlife surveying and running events. Sessions deliver 'on the job' experience which the young people can transfer to other areas of their lives such as developing their academic and future career profiles.
The Youth Rangers are a great bunch of youngsters with similar interests and a shared enjoyment of spending time outdoors. Carrying out tasks which involve team-working, enable the young people to develop their personal and social skills, form friendships and enhance their knowledge and awareness of the natural world, and in turn become better connected to nature.
Guardians of the Moors
The Eastern Moors, a place high above the city of Sheffield, proudly looking over the rural Peak District, inspires community ownership. The Eastern Moors Partnership can only ever do so much to look after the site, but it is the people who live and work nearby and spend their time enjoying the site's benefits, who naturally become the guardians of the moors. Making sure the Eastern Moors is protected and celebrated for its endless recreational possibilities, its value as an upland habitat for wildlife, a carbon sponge developing its capacity to hold carbon dioxide within its peat depths, a site teaming with cultural heritage.
Volunteering is at the heart of the Eastern Moors, and with nature deficit disorder banded as the 'illness of the 21st century', for adults and young people alike, local outdoor volunteering may well be just the tonic to help people reconnect with nature, benefiting both people and wildlife.
If you would like more information about becoming a volunteer on the Eastern Moors email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website www.easternmoors.org.uk, 'like' us on Facebook www.facebook.com or add your photos to Flickr www.flickr.com/easternmoorspartnership
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