Our volunteers play a fundamental role in almost everything we do. Whether it’s planting trees at an old quarry site, mapping an area burned by wildfire, or managing the spread of invasive species, we need your help to continue our work. Whether you’re a seasoned conservationist or a novice, we have a task that will suit you.

 

I’m Lisa, the Volunteer and Outreach Officer. I organise and run the conservation volunteering programme. I lead the tasks every Thursday and the Big Saturday Tasks at the end of each month. I love my job – I get to work in my field (excuse the pun!), outside, protecting and enhancing the environment around me. A big bonus is that I meet and get to know a bunch of similarly enthusiastic and lovely people through the volunteers that come along. I consider myself to be very lucky! I also consider those who live in Belfast to be very lucky – the Hills are on their doorstep and the opportunity to get out and about in the countryside, breathe in the fresh air and take in the spectacular views is like no other city! Don’t be shy, get involved!

lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org

 

IMG_0710      cormac

Volunteer Roles

Conservation Volunteers

Our Conservation Volunteers get together every Thursday morning and on the fourth Saturday of every month. There is a huge variety of tasks that we carry out and you can come along as often or as little as you want. Click the title for all information.

 

Tree & Hedge Planting Volunteer

This is a seasonal volunteer role where volunteers will help the Belfast Hills Partnership to plant trees and hedging plants on a variety of sites across the Hills. Click the title for all information.

 

Wildlife Survey Volunteer

This seasonal volunteer role will increase your survey skills and experience as well as biodiversity identification. Click the title for all information.

 

Conservation Extras!

For the smaller tasks that are still just as important! Click the title for all information.

 

Volunteer Hills Ranger

The Volunteer Hills Rangers act as extra eyes and ears in the Belfast Hills, sending in monthly reports on a given site in the Hills. This role requires lone volunteering on a set site in the Belfast Hills. Click the title for all information.

 

Even if you are not a Volunteer Ranger, you too can help us look after the Hills by reporting any issues or points of interest to us. Please see the ‘Anything to Report’ tab and follow the instructions.

 

 

The tasks we do are selected to appeal to as large a volunteer group as possible and so all abilities, ages and backgrounds are welcomed. As such, you don’t need any experience at all to get involved, but any that you do have will be put to good use. All we ask is that you come along with a smile, can-do attitude and clothes/sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting dirty!

 

Given the physical nature of some of our tasks, as outlined in the role descriptions, if you require some level of support or assistance or have any concerns, please contact our Volunteer Officer and they will be able to give you the best advice on how you can volunteer with us or another local organisation.

 

We’re a really friendly bunch and love to meet new people from all walks of life. Anyone interested in volunteering for the Belfast Hills Partnership should get in touch with our Volunteer and Outreach Officer, Lisa Critchley: lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org / 02890 603466

 

Essential Volunteering Information

Volunteer Handbook

This handbook provides you with essential information about volunteering with us as well as a broad introduction to the Belfast Hills Partnership.

Volunteer Handbook Updates

In order to ensure our volunteers have the best possible experience while undertaking tasks with us, our volunteering procedures are regularly reviewed. There are a few additions to the volunteer handbook which have been outlined in this document.

 

Volunteer Interest Form

The Interest Form can be printed and posted, scanned or emailed back to our Volunteer Officer who will contact you upon receipt of the form with additional information. It is also available in hard copy in the Volunteer Information Pack which the Volunteer Officer can give to you.

Volunteer Feedback Form

Feedback is really important and I welcome all. It is a way of developing the volunteer programme to make it the best possible fit for everyone. It gives volunteers the opportunity to request training and tasks and also an opportunity to let me know how they feel about the volunteering opportunities. The Feedback Form can be printed and posted, handed to me at a task, put in the plastic-pocket in the ‘goodie-bag’ at tasks or emailed back to me.

 

Volunteer Policies and Processes Available Training

 

All training courses are free.

Book now to secure your place as spaces are limited: lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org

 

Introduction to GPS and GIS Course

Tuesday 13th February, 1pm-5:30pm, Lenadoon Community Forum, Suffolk Road

This course will introduce participants to a variety of spatial analysis skills, using GIS software to locate areas in the Belfast Hills that are at risk of wildfires. The course will begin with a brief background discussion on GPS and GIS as well as the causes of wildfires. We will then head outside to carry out some basic GPS surveying and mimic some of the real wildfire mapping we do in the Belfast Hills. Following this, participants will then analyse a range of geographical data, to try and predict where wildfires are likely to occur. The course will also include discussions on where to source free GIS data, as well as covering a variety of common data processing and spatial analysis skills.

Some of this course will be outside so please bring a coat. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits for a comfort break around 3pm.

 

Badger Surveying

Wednesday 28th February, 10am-1pm, Rathfern Social Activity Centre and Carnmoney Hill

This course will introduce you to the world of badgers, why they are protected and what you can do to help monitor them. The course will begin with an introduction to badger characteristics and how to identify them and their setts. We will then cover the laws surrounding their protection and why the Belfast Hills monitors the population in the Hills. This will be followed by guidance on surveying techniques before heading out on to Carnmoney Hill to put what we have learned into practice.

As part of this course is outside, please wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits for a comfort break before we go out on to the hill.

 

Ancient Woodland Survey Training

Wednesday 18th April, 10am-3:30pm, Rathfern Social Activity Centre and Carnmoney Hill

This is a learning opportunity for participants to survey and record Ancient Woodland Features. The workshop will provide a taster for identifying the 4 key ancient woodland features (indicator species, ancient trees, deadwood & archaeology) and recording these on a map for reporting. The workshop will include an indoor session demonstrating typical mapping and reporting, followed by an outdoor session to practice mapping key features in the field. It is anticipated that participants will then be able to identify ancient woodland features and create their own simple reports for any newly identified sites in the Belfast Hills area and beyond.

As part of this course is outside, please wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. Please also bring your own lunch. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits.

 

Bumble and Solitary Bee Identification and Surveying

Saturday 12th May, 10am-1pm, Belfast Hills Partnership offices and Slievenacloy Nature Reserve

This course will introduce you to the identification and conservation of the different bumble bee species in Northern Ireland as well as touching on solitary bees. The course will begin with an introduction to bee ecology and habitats. We will then cover how to tell the different bee species apart from one another before explaining their importance and what conservation efforts are in place to help protect them, including survey techniques. After a short comfort break, we will head out to Slievenacloy to put what we have learned into practice and hopefully find some bees!

As part of this course is outside, please wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits for a comfort break before we go out on to the hill.

 

Pond Plant and Invasive Pond Plant Identification

Tuesday 26th June, 10am-1pm, Half Moon Lake, Suffolk Road

This course will introduce you to key native pond plants and non-native invasive pond plant species, the impact of the invasives and what to do if you see them. The course will begin by familiarising participants with key native pond plants. We will then look at the main non-native, invasive pond plant species and what their impact on our ponds can be. Following this, the course will cover what can be done if these non-native species are seen in a pond in Northern Ireland. We will then head out to have a look at the pond plant species in the Half Moon Lake to put to the test what we have learned.

As part of this course is outside, please wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits for a comfort break before we go out to the pond.

 

Tree Seed Collection and Propagation

Tuesday 9th October, 10am-1pm, Rathfern Social Activity Centre and Carnmoney Hill

This course will introduce you to why, when and how tree seeds are collected and then grown. We will begin by explaining why collecting tree seeds is important in relation to the impacts various tree diseases have on our woodland and hedgerow habitats. We will then look into when and how some tree seeds are collected and grown before a short comfort break. The course will then take us outside onto Carnmoney Hill to try our hand at seed collection and growing preparations.

As part of this course is outside, please wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits for a comfort break before we go out on to the hill.

 

 

Bookings: lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org / 02890 603466

 

Anything to Report

There are certain issues and species which we like to receive reports on. If you are out and about in the Belfast Hills and notice anything worthy of reporting, please feel free to email the lisa.critchley@belfasthills.org with your sightings recorded on the report sheet.

 

 

What to report:

Issues

Invasive species

Key species

 

Report sheet

 

Volunteer Rangers

Report sheet

Sites

Site specific species list

 

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