Shore thing volunteers © DWT

Shore thing volunteers © DWT


Covid-19 update

We're pleased to announce that volunteering activity has now resumed, at the discretion of the leader of any work party or activity.  To maintain the safety of our volunteers, maximum numbers will be at the discretion of the task leader or centre managers and will be dependent on the suitability of the site and task.  In addition we will continue to have social distancing where possible, sanitising gel available and also the wearing of face masks should they be required.  Volunteers should continue to bring their own refreshments.
If you have any questions, contact us on volunteering@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust

As a charity, we rely on volunteers to help us with all sorts of tasks from scrub clearance and wildlife surveys to manning the visitor centres and organising events. During the winter, conservation work is vital to the management of our nature reserves and there are many opportunities to join a work party in your area. Watch the video below to find out about the volunteer work parties on Brownsea Island, what they do and how volunteering is not only about the activity but also about connecting with other people too.

Video production: Diarmuid Mitchell

Is volunteering right for me?

Volunteers come to us for all sorts of reasons: to do their bit, to get healthy, to stay healthy, for the social element, for fun, for the challenge, to learn new skills, to practice old skills, to prepare for the workplace, to help wildlife, to get out into the fresh air, to learn about wildlife, to carry on using skills during retirement - and occasionally it’s just to give it a go. We like to think that we have the ideal opportunity for everyone who comes to us – so why not put us to the test?

Complete our volunteering registration form and sign up for our volunteering alert emails to see what we get up to.

There are lots of different opportunities, it's just a matter of choosing which ones you want to try. Read about some of the options below:

Getting stuck in with our work parties

Join a conservation work party and help to manage our nature reserves across the county.

  • Mainly winter activities
  • A few sites host volunteer work parties throughout the year.
  • All sessions are led by experienced volunteers or Reserve Wardens
  • All tools provided for you.

Undertake active management tasks such as:

  • Path creation
  • Scrub clearance
  • Hedgelaying
  • Path clearance
  • Small pine removal.

The emphasis is for everyone to enjoy their time, in a safe environment, whilst carrying out work that will directly enhance the conservation aspects of the site.

  • Most work parties run from 10am until 3pm.
  • Ring the organiser beforehand to check.
  • Details of each event are in the DWT events guide or in the latest issue of Volunteering Alert.

Have a look at our current dates on the events page. We welcome new volunteers, phone or email us and come along! 

Contact Susanna Holford to find out more at sholford@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk


Working in the offices and visitor centres

Volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust needn't involve being outside, doing something manual or getting very muddy and wet!

There is a huge range of other tasks that may appeal to you indoors at our Headquarters near Dorchester, or any of our Visitor Centres

  • Organising events
  • Clerical support
  • Staffing reception
  • Data input
  • Carrying out research
  • Helping pack DWT newsletters into envelopes

There are also regular sessions at our Brooklands Farm HQ carrying out such tasks as the stuffing of newsletters, raffles and other bulk mailings into envelopes ready for delivery.

Contact: If you are able to volunteer for a regular session of perhaps one day a week, you may like to assist one of our teams with a specific project. Contact Susanna Holford to find out more at sholford@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Carrying out wildlife surveys

Recording and monitoring of wildlife is an important part of our work across Dorset, from our Nature Reserves and Dorset's Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) to the Living Landscape & Living Seas projects and your local community patch!

There are a number of ways you can be involved, depending on your interests, how much time you have, and how experienced you are at identifying wildlife.

If you have existing wildlife identification and survey skills, would like to contribute to the nature reserves recording and monitoring programme or are a regular recorder at any of our sites get in touch. There are also occasional opportunities to be trained for specific surveys which are advertised through the volunteer e-mail newsletter.

Contact details: Steve Masters on telephone 01305 217984 or email smasters@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Discover more - our volunteer handbook

Read our volunteers' blogs

Find out about Dorset Wildlife Trust

Information about Dorset Wildlife Trust

Volunteering for Young People

Young People Leaflet

Volunteering at Lorton Meadows by Sam Dallimore

Volunteering at Lorton Meadows by Sam Dallimore 

Meet the volunteer team near you

We have regional teams throughout Dorset. Feel free to contact them directly if you wish to discuss specific volunteering roles.

Complete our Volunteering Registration form

Susanna Holford - Volunteer Co-ordinator/ Placement Co-ordinator

Susanna Holford

Susanna Holford

Susanna is responsible for signposting new volunteers and liaising with enquiries about opportunities. She is often the first contact that online registrations have with the Trust.  She likes all wildlife and is particularly interested in wildlife gardening.

Susanna brings a wealth of experience to the team and represents Dorset Wildlife Trust at a number of Volunteer focus groups across the County. She is based alongside our East Dorset team at the Urban Wildlife Centre and so is very well placed to be our volunteering co-ordinator for the East & South Dorset regional teams.

Contact: Susanna Holford at sholford@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Sarah Pritchard - Brooklands HQ

Sarah Pritchard Administration Officer is the member of staff responsible for the Brooklands HQ Front of House Volunteers. Our volunteers provide a welcoming, friendly, first point of contact for members and public alike. Their main jobs include supporting the administration team with answering the phone, emailing messages, opening incoming mail and preparing outgoing mail. They also help with any admin jobs that arise such as helping to construct adoption packs and membership packs.

If you are interested please contact Sarah at spritchard@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.


Sarah Pritchard

Steve Masters - Reserves Recording & Monitoring

Steve Masters © Neil Gibson

Steve Masters © Neil Gibson

Steve works with the wardens and site staff across the area teams to make sure we have the wildlife data we need to manage our (non-marine) Nature Reserves. He is interested in hearing from anyone with existing wildlife identification and survey skills who would like to contribute to the nature reserves recording and monitoring programme, or from regular recorders at any of our sites. Occasional opportunities to be trained for specific surveys are advertised through the volunteer e-mail newsletter.

Contact details: Telephone 01305 217984 or email smasters@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Julie Hatcher - Marine Volunteers

Julie Hatcher

Julie Hatcher

Julie is the Marine Awareness Officer and manages the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre at Kimmeridge where she organises the team of volunteer marine wardens.

Kimmeridge Marine Volunteers: Please contact Julie Hatcher on 01929 481044 or email her for details of Kimmeridge marine volunteering opportunities at kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk 

Becky Atkinson-Mayes - East Dorset Volunteers

Becky Atkinson-Mayes

East Dorset Volunteers: Meet on the second Thursday of the month at the Urban Wildlife Centre, Beacon Hill from May to August and every Thursday from September to April. A mix of practical tasks and survey work, there will be something to meet everybody’s needs.  For information on the East Dorset Volunteers  please contact Becky Atkinson-Mayes at batkinsonmayes@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk or the Urban Wildlife Centre on 01202 692033.


Luke Johns - Brownsea Island Volunteers

Luke Johns © Damian Garcia

Luke Johns © Damian Garcia

Luke is the Poole Harbour Reserves Officer, he runs regular work parties on Brownsea Island. ​​​​

Brownsea Volunteers: Meet on alternate Fridays from September and throughout winter helping with habitat management of this unique nature reserve. Contact Luke Johns (Poole Harbour Reserve Officer) for more information on 01202 709445 or email ljohns@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Ben Atkinson - North Dorset Volunteers

North Dorset Volunteers

North dorset Volunteers © S Oliver

Ben Atkinson is the North Dorset Volunteer Co-ordinator as well as being the North Dorset Reserves Warden. He is involved with survey/monitoring work in the Summer. In the Winter, tasks mainly involve habitat management. He always ensures that volunteering tasks are enjoyable, action-packed and fulfilling - so if that sounds like the sort of thing you want to be involved in, drop him a line!

North Dorset Volunteers:  Meet one Sunday every month throughout the year and various Wednesdays. Much of the work will involve keeping the downland clear of invasive scrub.

For details and to confirm the meeting point, please phone Ben Atkinson on tel: 07458 073878 or email him  at batkinson@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Lucy Ferris - West Dorset Volunteers

Lucy Ferris

Lucy Ferris

Lucy Ferris is the West Dorset Volunteer Co-ordinator as well as being the reserves warden for West Dorset. She runs regular volunteer work parties on our West Dorset nature reserves. 

West Dorset Volunteers: Meets every Tuesday from 10am until 4pm. Feel free to get in touch for more information if you are interested in helping the West Dorset wardens with a variety of practical management tasks.

For further details please contact Lucy on 07436 157488 or email her at lferris@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Nick Gray - Pastures New Volunteers

Nick Gray

Nick Gray

Nick Gray is the West Dorset Conservation Officer, he runs regular work parties which work with local landowners and farmers to restore and enhance wildlife-rich grassland.

THURSDAYS – PASTURES NEW: meet on Thursdays throughout the year (weekly in winter, fortnightly in the summer), for active conservation on wildlife-rich grasslands, hedgerows, woodlands and riverbanks. Based in West Dorset. Please contact Nick Gray for details on 07824438974 or email ngray@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

James Hitchen - South Dorset Volunteers

James Hitchen

James Hitchen

James is the reserves warden for South Dorset. He runs regular work parties on South Dorset nature reserves.

South Dorset Volunteers: Meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 10 am. Please note dates may vary occasionally so check our on-line events guide for up to date information. Join the Warden on a practical task and help to manage our South Dorset nature reserves. Booking is essential. 

For more details or to book please e-mail the South Dorset Warden James Hitchen on jhitchen@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Dan Bartlett - Lorton Meadows Volunteers

Dan Bartlett

Lorton Meadows: Meet fortnightly on Wednesdays at the Lorton Meadows Wildlife Centre 10am ­ 3pm. Tasks involve scrub clearance, path and gate clearance, fencing repairs.

For further details please contact  Dan Bartlett at dbartlett@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Colleen Smith - Moore Wessex Water Guardians Volunteers

Colleen is the Assistant Conservation Officer (Rivers & Wetlands), she runs the Wessex Water Guardians Community Project.

Colleen Smith-Moore

Wessex Water Guardians volunteers walk publicly accessible stretches of river, in their own time, to monitor river health and check for pollution. Training is provided and no prior experience is necessary. If you are interested, please find further details on the website or contact Colleen at waterguardians@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Volunteering opportunities

Volunteering events happening soon...

Useful downloads

If you would like to have a more in-depth read about volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust just click the relevant title below to download.

Get in touch

We really do value your feedback on our volunteering programme so please feel free to get in touch by phone on 01202 692033, Email us at volunteering@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk, find us on Twitter or Facebook - take your pick!

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