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From finance to forest: Volunteering in the New Forest

Volunteering in the New Forest can be fun, rewarding and good for your health. Retired banker Derek Tippetts describes how much he enjoys volunteering and how it can help with conservation.

I was fortunate to retire at 55 after a career in banking and, at that stage, I decided to open a new chapter in my life. Having grown up as a country boy in rural Somerset, I went back to my roots and became a Volunteer Ranger in the New Forest with the Forestry Commission.  

Before starting the role I thought I had a good knowledge of the Forest, having lived in it for nearly 30 years, but I have learnt so much more as a result of my volunteering activities which bring me into regular contact with a variety of people responsible for its management.

Derek Tippetts Pondhead Conservation Trust New Forest volunteer

Derek Tippetts volunteering in the New Forest National Park

Not only do I get plenty of fresh air and exercise, I also enjoy the social interaction that I get from contact with my fellow volunteers and the general public. Whilst my autumn and winter months are spent mainly on conservation tasks, my spring and summer duties are mainly public-facing involving visitors to the Forest. I very much enjoy chatting with them and answering their questions about this unique area in which I feel privileged to live and volunteer.

After a career in the fast lane where increasing targets and demands were made of me each year, one of the things I enjoy most is doing things at a much slower pace and being able to take in my surroundings. I don’t have to meet deadlines and I don’t have to waste time in pointless meetings! Nowadays I get a real sense of job satisfaction from seeing the results of the conservation work that we undertake.

My volunteering duties have now brought me full circle. Together with a small dedicated team, we have recently set up Pondhead Conservation Trust to manage and restore 190 acres of woodland in the heart of the Forest near Lyndhurst, under licence from the Forestry Commission. As a result, I am now looking for other volunteers to join us in this exciting community project which involves coppice restoration, charcoal production and a variety of other conservation tasks.

To sum up, volunteering can be infectious and fun.

The New Forest Volunteer Fair is a great place to find the right project for you. Meet more than 30 organisations at Lyndhurst Community Centre on 31 January, 2015. Find out more at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteerfair2015.

Pondhead Conservation Trust New Forest volunteers

Volunteers for the Pondhead Conservation Trust in the New Forest

 

This entry was posted by Communications on Friday 23/01/2015

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