The many attractions and benefits of volunteering

Our Themed Month for January will throw a spotlight on Environmental Volunteering.  We are delighted to get the ball rolling with an insight on the attraction of volunteering from Peter Cunningham.  A retiree, Peter highlights the many attractions and benefits that convinced him to volunteer at the Seven Lochs Wetland Park, bordering North-east Glasgow and North Lanarkshire.

Geese on frozen Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Geese on frozen Hogganfield Loch, Glasgow. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

How did you begin your volunteering?

I got involved with the Seven Lochs volunteers after seeing them out working in the local area. I was previously with the local Green Gym which I joined after retiring. I was always fond of the outdoors but just never found the time to do anything about it.

How often do you volunteer?

I mostly come out every Friday, but have been out on other days that might crop up.

What activities do you undertake?

Numerous tasks! Most recently we have been cutting back overgrown vegetation, making hedgehog boxes, planting bulbs to provide early nectar for pollinator species, and digging a shallow seasonal ‘scrape’ habitat for amphibians and invertebrates.  

What are the benefits for yourself?

It stops me from becoming a couch potato!  It keeps me fit, and it’s good to meet folk that I wouldn’t normally meet.

Have you learned any new skills? 

Willow fence building is one activity that comes to mind.

What’s the best thing about your conservation volunteering? 

For myself, getting out and about doing practical and worthwhile activities, and it’s also very satisfying when a member of the public mentions how much they appreciate the work we do.

Do you have a favourite place with the group?

I like working at Hogganfield Loch. It’s a stunning location to do anything in.   

Have you learned anything about local nature?

I’ve been learning about the fossorial water voles in my area. I am also more aware of the work put into taking care of the open spaces for people and wildlife alike. 

Would you recommend environmental volunteering to others? 

Yes, I would recommend it to everyone to try at least once. You might not like it but you’ll never know until you try. It can be immensely satisfying participating in the tasks we are given. It also keeps you fit and it might even lead to a different career if the nature bug bites.

Sum up in a word your volunteering? 


Peter Cunningham, Seven Lochs volunteer.

Peter Cunningham, Seven Lochs volunteer.

For further information about the project, contact Claire Quinn, Seven Lochs Heritage Volunteering Officer at

Find out more about the Seven Lochs Wetland Park here.

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