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Party planning – student style!

February 18, 2011

By Steve Davis

Volunteering Programme Manager

Now that Debbie has sucessfully negotiated her meat free month (and I have to say – brilliant blogging Debbie!), it’s fallen to me to take up the baton for the next stage of Wildlife Matters blogging.  This one is a little different though, as I’m not going to talk about my 50 for 50 challenge as part of our Jubilee year.  No, I’m going to give you a behind the scenes glimpse of what we get up to in organising a volunteering event.

Let me take you back a while…..  3 years ago we launched our Youth Volunteering project, funded by V, the National youth volunteering body.  Now, as we approach the end of the project, it’s time to have a bit of a bash.  I’m Steve, the Volunteering Manager, and with the assistance of Sam Hamer and a few others that I’ll introduce later, we will be holding a Big Bash conservation day at Holton Lee next thursday – and I’m going to take you through the preparations behind it all, and of course I’ll be back afterwards to tell you how it all went.

Event Managers of the future

OK.  So, the bunch that are working with me?  6 BSc Event Management Students from Bournemouth Uni are actually leading it all as part of their course, and I’m just there to make sure it all goes to plan, giving the occasional nudge (should it be needed, but not required as yet of course) and generally answering questions as they arise.   The Students have been busy already, with advertising, making posters, setting up a facebook page, sorting out finances, drumming up support from local businesses and schools, and even going live on local radio!  They really are a great team, and have impressed me very much with their enthusiasm and attention to detail.  If only we could keep them for every event!  This week, we all met up at Holton Lee where I introduced the rest of the team – our 4 new trainees.  This fine bunch of conservation warriors are with the Trust for a year, gaining a wide range fo practical skills as they undertake the HLF funded Skills for Life project.

Our Conservation Skills Trainees. John is on the left, obviously... Then it's Becky, Jess and Megan

Back to our meeting  on Wednesday, and after about an hour of questions, ideas and plans we were all set to go and visit the heath to see where we would be having our conservation fires.  Before we did though, John had one final question to ask… “Soooo, what exactly are we doing?”  I’m sure he’ll catch up with the plan soon enough..

I suppose now would be good time to fill you in on what we will be doing, and maybe I could just get John to read on from here!

The V project has been all about getting young people to take part in conservation volunteering across the County.  One of the many aims is to give these young people the chance to demonstrate that they really do care about their environment, and also about their local community.  Holton Lee is a Charity that offers a peaceful place for people to spend quiet contemplation time, it provides the perfect place for respite care and is above all, simply a very special place to be amongst Nature and all it can offer to a mind and body.  It therefore provides the perfect opportunity to our young volunteers to make a lasting impression on a very deserving site.  The heathland is under considerable threat from gorse and pine – so we will be spending our day clearing it and burning what we cut, on managed fires.

The girls checking out the seating arrangements

Our plan then is rather simple.  Invite lots of people, make sure that the essentials are covered – food, drink, first aid, H&S etc, and organise the volunteers into teams so that we can target the areas of gorse that need most attention.  Food will be jacket potatoes, cooked on the fires of course – so no pressure there in getting then going straight away then!

For now, all seems to be progressing well.  We will be busy sorting out the day between now and next Wednesday, when it all starts to come to life.  That day will be spent preparing the fire sites for Thursday, siting the tea tent, confirming parking areas, finalising supervisors and sending John out to do the shopping!

Of course, if you think that maybe you quite like the idea of all this – you can always come along and join us on the day.  You’ll be very welcome, but we would ask that you book ahead so that we have some idea of how many people will be there, as we do need to make sure we’ve got plenty of spuds to go around!

The winner of the 'colourful boots category ' is........

Pop back next week for another update, and please help by keeping your fingers crossed for decent weather on Wednesday and Thursday!



Dorset Wildlife Trust

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nicky Hoar permalink
    February 18, 2011 12:49 pm

    sounds great – count me in!

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