Volunteers recognised as 'green heroes'

Volunteers prepare an area for a newt pond Stroud Valleys Project volunteers prepare an area for a newt pond

'Green heroes' have been recognised for their voluntary services to the environment by the National Trust.

A group of green space guardians, a red squirrel champion and a passionate birdwatcher have all been selected for praise in the charity's annual awards.

After receiving 140 entries, the winners were chosen by the public via an online poll.

The awards are named for the charity's founder and social activist Octavia Hill.

"Being a volunteer is in our national DNA and it's great that these awards recognise and celebrate the commitment, passion and determination of the people that care for the green spaces that matter so much to them," said Helen Timbrell, Volunteering and Community Involvement Director at the National Trust.

"The standard of nominations for the Octavia Hill Awards this year was really high and shows that the spirit of volunteering is alive and well."

How you can help wildlife

How to be a wildlife volunteer

How to do a nature survey

Wildlife gardening: Top ten plants

Make a home for nature

The winner of the "green space guardians" award was the Stroud Valleys Project, which celebrates its silver jubilee this year.

For 25 years, the group has turned unused land around Gloucestershire into green spaces. Hundreds of volunteers, including people recovering from mental health issues and addiction, have helped to improve local ponds and woodlands.

This year they have launched a "get growing' project in 23 schools and they are now aiming to improve 25 wildflower meadows.

Allan Davies from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was recognised in the awards' "love places" category.

Mike Barratt, RSPB volunteer Mike Barratt is a familiar face at the RSPB Titchwell Marsh reserve

Since retiring, Mr Davies has volunteered in the National Trust-owned village of Cushendun for three years.

As well as improving the environment in the village, he started a conservation scheme to create and maintain habitat for the local red squirrels.

Finally, Mike Barratt earned the title "natural hero" for his dedication to wildlife in Norfolk.

He ran a 15-acre nature reserve at the power plant where he worked and has helped with the Marsh Harrier Monitoring project.

At 89 years old he still volunteers for four half-days a week, helping with wildlife queries, leading walks and hands-on management at the RSPB Titchwell Marsh reserve.

"I love being outdoors, always have; always enjoyed nature and the natural world," Mr Barratt said, explaining his love of volunteering.

"I can go into the natural world and give back a bit for what it's given me," he added.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

We've moved to BBC Earth

  • BBC EarthWe've moved!

    Click here to go to our new home at BBC Earth

BBC Earth highlights

BBC iWonder

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.