Voluntary Wardens Policy
The Warden team provides a valuable interface between the Conservators and visitors to their land. Voluntary Wardens contribute fully to this team and fulfil many of the roles of the fulltime wardens. They commonly patrol a variety of areas of the hills and commons on foot and by vehicle, maintaining a friendly presence for the public. Advising the public is one of the most important aspects of the work, encouraging responsible use of the hills through an educational approach. For example VW's might hand out Codes of Conduct to mountainbikers using the hills, and encourage dog owners to clear up dog mess by giving out dog waste bags. This is enforcing the byelaws in a friendly and pro-active way.
At times incidents occur which voluntary wardens will get involved with for example off road drivers, campers and flytipping will be tackled. Sometimes more serious problems will be reported by volunteers to the paid staff, including emergency situations such as hill fires.
The wardens are typically friendly people, but firm and fair-minded when dealing with difficult issues or incidents. Diplomacy and tact are important traits.
VW's are easily identified by their uniform with the MHC logo, and are often seen litter picking when they patrol on foot.
Prospective VW's undergo an induction course and training; following that, they have the opportunity to attend courses on first aid, dealing with difficult people and assertiveness to help them in their role.
There are quarterly meetings of the Voluntary Wardens, to help everyone keep up to date with information. These normally finish with a drink in a local pub!
Voluntary Site Wardens
The Voluntary Site Wardens (VSW's) undertake practical conservation work on specific Special Management Areas (SMA's), these are sites of unique importance for wildlife. For example, there are SMA's that comprise areas of open hillside that are important for ground nesting birds, and these have to be managed to keep them clear of trees. Also there is a SMA at the Gullet Quarry which is excellent for butterflies, including the Dark Green Fritillary, and this site has to be kept clear of scrub. The VSW aims to manage the area according to a management plan, and with the guidance and support of the Conservation Officer and Wardens. There are also opportunities for the VSW to contribute to updating the management plan and doing habitat surveys.
Prospective VSW's undergo an induction course and training; following that, they have the opportunity to attend various courses such as use of various power tools as well as hand tools use, and health and safety practices. There are also ongoing wildlife identification courses. All equipment is provided by MHC.
There are meetings every 6 months for the VSW's to help keep everyone up to date with information. There are also regular visits to each volunteers site to ensure that each person has enough support and guidance in their work.
Three work parties are held every month, at various sites on Conservators land, normally on Special Management Area's. These practical conservation projects are organised for the first Saturday of each month and the second and fourth Fridays. A range of work is undertaken, all of it aimed at increasing the nature conservation value of each habitat. For example, pond clearance, scrub management, tree planting, and woodland coppicing. It is an opportunity to visit areas of the hills that many people may not know, to meet new and like-minded people, enjoy some fresh air and exercise whilst contributing to the care of the hills and commons. Training and guidance is given as required on the work site according to the individuals needs. All equipment is provided.
There are a number of courses that are arranged every year for the volunteers. This might be bat watching, wildflower id or fruit tree pruning. Some volunteers will have individual training plans involving learning about power tool use, or how to deal with difficult situations effectively.
Volunteers receive a quarterly newsletter about staff and volunteer activities, training opportunities, articles about the management of the hills and wildlife histories. There is also a conservation projects list outlining where and when the various projects take place. Regular up dates are available to internet users regarding courses available with other local organisations, as well opportunities available for wildlife surveys or events such as moth trapping evenings.
There are several social events, which vary each year, but include a Summer Picnic and Christmas drinks. A popular trip out for the volunteers is the annual Dawn Chorus guided walk.
Volunteers are covered by the Conservators insurance.
Children CRB Checked
Under 15 need to be accompanied by an adult