Iolo Williams' wildlife challenge

Iolo Williams By volunteering with local organisations you can potentially benefit wildlife in your area, says Iolo Williams

This challenge is about going the extra mile and devoting your time and energy to the wildlife cause by becoming a volunteer.

Growing up in Wales definitely cemented my love of nature but also gave me the passion to preserve it.

No matter how you choose to get involved you will make a really big difference as well as meet some fantastic likeminded people in the process.

What can you achieve?

In one day a full team of volunteers could make a huge difference for wildlife. A pond could be de-silted, undergrowth cleared or a new wildflower meadow planted to help bees.

Things to remember

  • Only volunteer for things you are interested in - decide what you've enjoyed most throughout the challenges.
  • Be realistic about the time you can offer. Volunteering should be enjoyable, so don't let it become a time pressure and a burden.
  • Remember, you can volunteer as an individual, a couple or join in as a family.

If you joined in you would immediately see the benefits of giving your time. A cleared pond will increase wildlife - newts and toads could breed there and birds would visit more often.

In half a day a team could clear a river bank or coastal area of rubbish or even plant a community garden where everyone can enjoy wildlife.

You could also help conservation and wildlife charities by offering professional skills such as writing a newsletter; creating a website, translating information from another language or helping run the office.

Volunteering works in so many ways.

How to get involved

Download your own copy of the Summer of Wildlife Handbook

PDF download Summer of Wildlife Handbook [pdf][15.9MB]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

To get hands-on with an active volunteering project, try finding your local volunteering centre and ask if it's running any schemes.

The RSPB; Bat Conservation Trust; Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (Arc) and Butterfly Conservation are just a few of the organisations that offer volunteering projects. Find out more about some other wildlife volunteering opportunities here.

Why volunteer?

  • You make a difference to wildlife and the environment.
  • You help improve understanding about wildlife and conservation.
  • You get to meet new people.
  • It gets you out and about -you often see your local landscape differently.
  • You get to try new things or learn new skills.
  • You make a difference - to yourself and your community.
  • It can help boost your confidence.

If projects are limited in your area, you can always volunteer from home by taking part in a survey. Find out more about how to become a nature detective. Finally, be sure to share any photographs you take on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group. As part of our See it, Snap it, Share it challenge, we're hoping to reach 100,000 photographs that document the state of our UK wildlife in the summer of 2013.

All summer we'll be hosting an online conversation around the Summer of Wildlife. Follow BBC Nature on Facebook and Twitter @BBCNature. Join in and share your own Summer of Wildlife experiences and get the latest news and updates about the wildlife near you.

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