Volunteer with us!!
Volunteering is a great way to get involved with the RiverLife: Almond & Avon project. Whether you are keen to get your hands dirty, looking to boost your CV or just wanting to get out & about to meet some like-minded people, everyone is welcome. There are a range of opportunities available, from walking along the river looking for invasive species to spending a day in the water helping to install brash banking. There are also plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and complete certified training courses to allow you to take part in some of the more challenging tasks.
Whether you are looking to spend the whole day outside in your wellies or only have an hour to spare and/or prefer less physical activities, we would love to have you onboard. To be kept informed of any upcoming volunteer days sign up to our mailing list below or check out our ‘What’s On’ page for any upcoming volunteering dates.
More details on the types of volunteering opportunities available are listed below. If you would like more information please email Amy, our Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the office on 0131 445 1527.
Practical Conservation Days
Our practical conservation days offer a wide range of activities to get involved with, both in and around the Almond & Avon rivers. There are a whole range of activities to choose from including tree planting, path & step maintenance, brash bank protection and upgrading greenspace infrastructure. Our practical conservation days run throughout the project area, all tools and equipment are provided and the events are fully supported by RiverLife staff.
If you are looking to spend time outdoors, meet new people and help look after local greenspaces then we would love to hear from you.
Invasive Species – Surveying & Control
Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) are a threat to our native plants and animals and have a negative impact on our rivers. In the Almond & Avon catchments, there are three main invasive species that we need your help to survey and control – Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed.
Surveying for invasive species involves walking a stretch of river and recording whether you find any invasive species or not. Recording forms and identification guides will be provided and you can choose where you would like to walk and how long for. If you are unsure or would like extra help getting started, RiverLife staff are on hand to help. You can fit surveying in around your commitments, making it easy to carry out when you have time. Whether you carry out a survey whilst out walking the dog or use this as an opportunity to get to know a section of river you haven’t visited before, all survey effort is appreciated and is vital to help us know where to focus our work to control INNS on the Almond & Avon.
Control of invasive species happens from April to October. Due to the nature of INNS and their movement downstream, control must be carried out following a ‘source to sea’ approach and include both the main stem of the river and its tributaries. Volunteers are needed to help staff in the effort to control INNS on the Almond & Avon rivers. This is a physical but rewarding activity, spending a few hours on the riverbank in generally nice weather conditions, helping to stop the spread of invasive non-native species.
We will be running ‘Balsalm Pulling’ days to help control Himalayan Balsalm which anyone can get involved with. For Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed, control is carried out using knapsack sprayers. If you would like to get involved in this type of volunteering, you would need to have the relevant certification or complete a certified training course. If you would like to get involved with helping us in the fight against invasive non-native species or to discuss training/certification in more detail feel free to contact us.
Riverflies, along with other freshwater invertebrates, are at the heart of the freshwater ecosystem and are a vital link in the aquatic food chain. Riverfly populations are affected by many factors including water quality, habitat diversity, water level and flow rate. Unfortunately, changes to water quality can go unnoticed without regular monitoring. The Riverfly Monitoring Initiative provides volunteers with a simple monitoring technique to detect any severe changes in river water quality and gives guidance on reporting these changes to the relevant contact within SEPA.
Throughout the RiverLife: Almond & Avon project, we will be providing opportunities to get involved with riverfly monitoring. We will be running training days to learn how to identify riverflies and how to carry out monitoring on your local stretch of river. We are aiming to coordinate all riverfly monitoring within the Almond and Avon catchments so please get in touch and let us know if you would like to get involved or are already taking part in the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative.
The RiverLife team are out and about at engagement events throughout the year, taking with them display stands, an interactive river table and on occasions trays full of invertebrates! The types of activities you may be involved with when helping at engagement events include loading/unloading vehicles, lifting equipment, setting up/dismantling displays, engaging members of the public and helping to spread the word about the Almond & Avon project. Event volunteers will be fully supported by RiverLife team members at events and will be given the opportunity to learn about the project and gain experience in engaging with members of the public. Examples of the types of events the team go to include highlands games, family fun days and local country park events.
Do you have a keen eye for a photo? Are you a budding photographer or the next big thing in film production? We are looking for volunteers to help us build up our library of photos and films of the Almond & Avon and the surrounding wildlife and green spaces. We are also looking for help to capture film clips of quick-fire interviews with volunteers and individuals involved with the project. A great opportunity to use your film and photography skills and help us to showcase this amazing project!
Throughout the RiverLife project, electrofishing will be carried out by the Trust to monitor fish populations before and after each project. The monitoring will be led by the Trust biologist and each project will have a predefined monitoring programme to make sure scientific data is collected at regular intervals during the project. There are opportunities for volunteers to assist the Trust biologist with the monitoring and to attend an ‘Introduction to Electrofishing’ certified training course.