Dundreggan is a 10,000 acre estate set in stunning scenery close to the Great Glen, 35 mile south-west of Inverness. LTV's are also involved in our pioneering conservation work out with Dundreggan, across our range of projects.
As part of a team, LTV's work on a variety of innovative conservation projects with a focus on native woodland establishment and regeneration. Tasks include working in our expanding Tree Nursery, tree-planting, fertilising, felling and removing non-native trees. They also work alongside our regular residential groups and other day volunteers.
Coming from wide and diverse backgrounds, our volunteers all have a passion for conservation. Many have studied a conservation, biological or environmental subject and want to get hands on experience in the field. Others are conservation professionals already and have unique skills and experience that they offer to the expansion of our work. Often our LTV's have volunteered with us before on our Conservation Weeks and Conservation Days and are looking to gain a deeper understanding of and give a richer contribution to the work that we do.
You will experience the range and breadth of conservation work at Trees for Life from tree planting to surveying. Work in our tree nursery will be a focus for Spring and Summer placements. Our pioneering nursery is achieving ground-breaking results on propagating aspen and rare montane scrub species, as well as other native trees. With new native woodland planting schemes beginning in 2016 and red squirrel translocation project this is an exciting time to join the team as a LTV.
Part of our reforestation strategy at Dundreggan Conservation Estate is to reduce browsing pressure from deer in and around our semi-natural ancient woodland fragments. Encouraging young seedlings to flourish and create the next generation of forest giants. Project Wolf volunteers will be creating a landscape of disturbance within and around the woodland area at Dundreggan. By going for regular walks through the woodland and out along the fringe of the existing woodland, making noise and creating disturbance, going out during evening, night and early morning, you will keep any deer here on their toes and less likely to spend time munching seedlings.
The LTV programme runs from March to the end of October each year and LTV's join us for between one and three months, working full-time. Places are offered through formal application and are allocated on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Please ensure that the time that you are able to spend at Dundreggan matches the time requirements of the project; both the time of year and duration.
Our accommodation is at Dundreggan and it adds a unique Highland living experience to our programme. LTV's stay in Dundreggan Cottage through Spring and Autumn. During Summer accommodation is provided at Dundreggan Lodge. Accommodation is shared by our long term volunteers and field researchers and we ask that you are prepared to share a room with another volunteer. Trees for Life also provide a weekly food allowance.
“When I first came to Trees for Life I was seeking a change in my career. I had come from a background of desk-based environmental research, but wanted to work outdoors in practical environmental conservation. Being a Long-Term Volunteer with Trees for Life confirmed to me very quickly that I had made the right choice. I am now Seasonal Nursery Assistant working in the nursery at Dundreggan! Trees for Life has been pivotal in forming a career that I am really happy with. ”
– Emma Beckinsale, LTV Summer 2014
"Volunteering and working with Trees for Life has had a hugely positive impact on my personal happiness. I have also found a career that I love, and that gives me a huge amount of job satisfaction." – LTV Summer 2014
"Volunteering has opened my eyes to our last wilderness of Britain and how important it is to prevent any more damage, as well as regenerate what has been lost. I will always have a life-long affinity to the Scottish countryside due to family connections, but Trees for life has inspired me even more to explore and enjoy the nature around me, wherever I find myself." – LTV Summer 2014
"I have now got a full time job as a line manager, looking after three full time members of staff producing beneficial insects for crops to protect them from pests. I believe my experience volunteering and working hands on with plants and nature gave me a good standing in this job, and also boosted my confidence and teamwork skills. A huge benefit was just the sense of doing something new. For my job I had to move... which is less daunting when you have previously been an LTV somewhere far from home." – LTV Summer 2014
"A positive experience… meeting lots of lovely people and forming strong friendships in a short space of time with my fellow volunteers. It was also amazing to be working and living in such a beautiful environment as the Scottish Highlands…. It has given me first-hand experience of the conservation work being under-taken to restore the Caledonian Forest and in turn has helped me immensely with my tree identification... I am currently studying for a BSc in wildlife and practical conservation so it has provided me with essential practical experience to go hand in hand with my course."– Michael Willett, LTV Autumn 2013
"I can’t think more highly of my time here with Trees for Life" – Tony Henry, LTV Summer 2013.
You can also read more about a volunteer's experience in an article published in the Ecologist Magazine (February 2014).
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Emily Warner, Long-Term Volunteer, 2015