Community wildlife plans


Wildlife Champion: Keith Metcalf

What is your name?
Keith Metcalf (third from left, above)

Which voluntary community group do you volunteer with?
The Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV)

What motivates you to volunteer?
A love of nearly all wildlife (not keen on snakes and amphibians). I learned most woodland bird songs and calls when I was in my teens and like most boys brought up in the 50s (that’s the 1950s not the 1850s) I collected birds eggs. I sincerely believe that if I had not followed this traditional pastime (of that era) my interest in natural history and subsequently in conservation, would not have been driven in the direction I have followed, though I do appreciate that nowadays it is illegal to collect or even own an old collection of bird eggs! I enjoy being out in the fresh air with nature and have always felt the need to try to put back a little of what I have got out of my lifetime hobby.

What sort of things do you do as a volunteer?
We undertake scrub clearance on Studland Common recovering some of our lost ‘unimproved grassland’. We plant trees in our woodlands, coppice Hazel and Willow, remove highly invasive non-native plants e.g. Rhododendron, Gaultheria, Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Bamboo, Holm Oak, Sessile Oak and Skunk Cabbage. We create new glades to open up the ground flora to butterflies and invertebrates and we are currently restoring two old reed-fen areas and a small section of heathland. We also maintain the bird hide at Sturt Pond and its immediate scrub cover and monitor and record all wildlife in the parish.

What are the highlights of volunteering with your group?
The MCV has been instrumental in producing its own Biodiversity Action Plan for Milford-on-Sea parish (through the New Forest National Parks ‘Community Wildlife Plan’ project). We have worked alongside the Parish Council, the Land Advice Service and the County Council Countryside Service Team in helping to produce conservation management strategies and plans for Studland Common, the Pleasure Grounds (woodlands) and for Sturt Pond, all of which we have contributed in getting them designated as Local Nature Reserves (LNRs).

Our youth education programme is also very important as we need to find the young conservationists of the future to take over when we are old and decrepit...which for some of us has already crept up upon us!
For me, there is nothing like working with nature to make you feel you are making a difference, while at the same time making you feel healthy, wealthy and wise... Okay, forget the ‘wealthy and wise’ bit!  

How can people get involved with your group?
Pick up our membership booklet from shops in the village, from the parish council office (22 High Street) or from the Bird Hide. Alternatively, go to our website: or telephone (01590) 645825 or (07771) 918449 or email:

Why would you recommend volunteering with your group?
Not all of the 160 MCV members are active in helping to physically manage the reserves. Just as important are those members who contribute annually by becoming members and those that support the group by attending talks and presentations, or join a variety of field trip walks to listen to the conservation experts that have been invited along to help survey wildlife and to train members.

The MCV is at the heart of the village community. There is much land that requires ongoing management. The group members are friendly and welcome new individuals. However young or old you might be (or feel) new Task Team members are invited to work at their own pace and for as long or as little time as they wish. MCV provide clear health and safety guidance and will provide the necessary training. Each session has a social element to it, which is also encouraged.

If you live in the parish or close by, then you would be welcome to join the Milford Conservation Volunteers.  

  1. Community wildlife plans
  2. Get involved
  3. Project updates
  4. Wildlife Champion: John Martin
  5. Wildlife Champion: Keith Metcalf (you are here)
  6. Project Funders


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