Daisy East represented World Land Trust at a recent Conservation Evening at Chessington World of Adventures. Here she gives an account of the event, and of her experience of volunteering.
I became a volunteer at World Land Trust (WLT) a year ago. I had done voluntary work before and I enjoy giving my time in a good cause. I am interested in WLT's conservation work, so I was pleased when earlier in the summer I was asked to represent the Trust at a Conservation Evening at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.
To prepare for the event I set about finding out more about Chessington Conservation Fund (CCF) and its partnership with WLT. CCF was set up by Chessington World of Adventures in 2011 to raise money to help protect the future of nature and wildlife through conservation work and education at Chessington Zoo, in the local community and worldwide.
I found it interesting finding out about conservation in Ecuador, and about WLT's approach to conservation, for example, its policy of working through in-country project partners and helping build their capacity, and its policy of not owning land, but rather of vesting the responsibility of ownership in the local people.
CCF has supported WLT since 2010. In 2012 CCF made a donation of £12,800 to WLT to help expand the Cazaderos Tropical Forest Reserve in Ecuador by 128 acres (the same area of land that Chessington World of Adventures occupies). The purchase was made by WLT’s conservation partner, Nature & Culture International - Ecuador, in order to protect highly threatened Tumbesian forest. In 2013 CCF followed up the land purchase with a donation of a further £5,000 to WLT’s Keepers of the Wild programme for reserve ranger, Guilbert Hernando Olaya Aponte, in the Cazaderos reserve.
Chessington Conservation Evening
During the event I met visitors, handed out WLT information leaflets and answered questions about conservation in Ecuador and Chessington’s partnership with WLT. It was good to see for myself how Chessington promotes its partnership with WLT.
I also had a chance to see ‘backstage’ at the zoo, so by the end of the day I felt I’d learned more about managing zoo animals, and about Chessington's involvement with conservation in general.
There were many other stalls at the event and I enjoyed meeting some of the other stallholders and finding out about their involvement in conservation. WLT assesses each outreach opportunity individually, so I knew that this one was considered really important. I already know that because of my stand at the evening another potential corporate supporter has made contact with WLT to discuss future joint ventures.
Volunteering for WLT
At the moment I work one day a week in WLT gallery. I meet and greet visitors, talk about the Trust, if asked, or refer people to the website. (Sometimes I ask a member of staff to come into the gallery to deal with specific enquiries.) I handle sales – of pictures, cards and books - and generally ensure that the space is welcoming to visitors.
I'm most busy between exhibitions, helping take down one set of pictures and hanging new displays. When I need to focus on job applications I spend quiet times in the gallery using the computer for research.
I enjoy volunteering at WLT. I am aware that WLT staff are on hand to support me as a volunteer, and I know how important it is that volunteers support the staff in return. The work is varied and interesting and it feels good to know that I'm doing something positive for the environment.
Daisy East first started volunteering for WLT in August 2012. Chessington's Conservation Evening was on 22 June 2013.
Volunteering: WLT welcomes volunteers to assist in WLT gallery in Halesworth. For more information about volunteering opportunities, please contact us.
Keepers of the Wild: WLT urgently needs more funding for Keepers of the Wild. On average, £5,000 will support a ranger in the field for one whole year. This includes a salary, uniform and vital equipment such as binoculars and tools.
For any individual or business who wishes to donate the full £5,000 we will identify a particular ranger for you to support. Donors receive regular field reports from the sponsored ranger. Please contact us directly to find out how you can help.
Buy an Acre: You can also support WLT's ongoing conservation work in Ecuador through Buy an Acre.