Meet our members

We've asked some of our volunteers about their experiences with BLCV.

Euan - Bedfont Lakes conservation volunteer

Euan

Hi Euan! Why did you start coming to the volunteer days?

I enjoy doing this type of activity and being outdoors, and wanted to help maintain and improve a local green space. Also, I was working at the time and it was good to get away from sitting in an office in front of a computer. 

 

Were you always interested in conservation? 

I have been interested since my early 20s and have done weekends and weeks with an organisation called BTCV (now The Conservation Volunteers or TCV) and also the National Trust. When doing weekends and weeks with BTCV we used to stay in village halls and sleep on karimats. For a shower we would go to the local public baths.

 

What's the most important thing you've learned or realised through being part of BLCV?

I have realised what good green spaces Hounslow has and how these need to be maintained. In the reserve area especially you don’t seem to be able to hear the aircraft or noise from the road nearby.

 

Tell us something about yourself that your fellow volunteers might not know about you.

I used to a part of the London School of Samba and played the Notting Hill Carnival twice.

 

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV?

Helping to maintain and hopefully improve Bedfont Lakes Country Park.

 

One of the worst?

Cannot think of one.

Peter - Bedfont Lakes conservation volunteer

Peter

Why did you start coming to the volunteer days? 
I wanted to help out as I like working as a team player, and I enjoy the outdoors a lot. I joined because I wanted to get experience in conservation.

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV so far?

Working with all fellow volunteers - we form a great team - and also with the park rangers.

 

One of the worst?

People inevitably come and go - it's never a happy thing to say goodbye to volunteers and rangers that you've gotten to know well.

 
Malcolm - Bedfont Lakes conservation volunteer

Malcolm

Hi Malcolm! Tell us why you started coming to the volunteer days.

Because I had been aware of the nature reserve on prior visits to Bedfont Lakes, and I wanted to see what it looked like. I also thought I could do something more constructive on Saturdays than reading a newspaper: although reading a newspaper isn't necessarily a bad thing.

 

Were you always interested in conservation?

Not as such. I always enjoyed walking and the aesthetic experience of nature, but only in the last 15 years have I read articles about the importance of protecting the environment with regard to the protection of habitats, and food chains on land or sea.

 

What's the most important thing you've learned or realised through being part of BLCV?

Giving a small amount of your time on a regular basis to conservation with like-minded people is giving something back.

 

Tell us something about yourself that your fellow volunteers might not know about you.

I love the theme music to Sir Prancelot: a children's animation series on BBC1 from the early 1970's.

 

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV?

Observing how the park changes with the seasons.

 

One of the worst?

Falling face first while extracting logs from the rushes (and shallow water) area; to the right of - and just before- the Hide pier on the North Lake, in 2013. A thorough soaking!

Sam

Hi Sam! Tell us why you started coming to the volunteer days.

I started coming to BLCV after I did my work experience with the rangers at Bedfont Lakes.

 

Were you always interested in conservation?

I was always interested in animals and read hundreds of books as a child. I got into conservation work after my work experience at Bedfont Lakes Country Park, working alongside the rangers.

What's the most important thing you've learned or realised through being part of BLCV?

The most important thing I’ve learnt is that for plants, animals and fungi to survive in an area, you do have to cut down some trees to protect them.

Tell us something about yourself that your fellow volunteers might not know about you.

As well as a volunteer with BLCV, I am a qualified lifeguard for poolside and open water.

 

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV?

The best experience I have had is when I made my first bonfire using a flint and steel.

 

One of the worst?

The worst was when the fire died out.

Andrea - Bedfont Lakes conservation volunteer

Andrea

Hi Andrea! Tell us why you started coming to the volunteer days.

My husband (Clive), who'd already been to a few sessions, persuaded me to come along.

 

Were you always interested in conservation?  

No, I can't say I was. While I like the great outdoors I certainly couldn't describe myself as a conservationist or even a proper gardener. I suppose my experience is based on having to help in the garden as a teenager, before I was allowed out to do something more interesting! Then, later on, I found I did enjoy making an effort to look after any garden where I happened to be living. Do you need experience to cut down brambles? That's one task that somehow I've ended up really enjoying to do.

 

What's the most important thing you've learned or realised through being part of BLCV? ​

The park is extra special to me as it's so near to one of the world's busiest airports. It's important to look after such a valuable resource. Bedfont Lakes was where I first saw a bittern (taking flight, with aircraft in the sky behind).

 

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV?

One of the best things about being part of BLCV for me is seeing what a group of people can achieve in just one session. With luck, other people might notice too! 

 

One of the worst?

It's difficult to come up with anything that's not been good. Even clearing reeds in the rain has turned out to be fun. 

SJ - Bedfont Lakes conservation volunteer

Sarah-Jane

Why did you start coming to the volunteer days? 
I had just moved to the area and I wanted to do something productive that was outdoors and meet local people. My first experience of the park was coming to take photos of the lakes, which is when I met the rangers and spotted the BLCV group constructing a stag beetle log pile among the buddleia beside South Lake.

 

Were you always interested in conservation?
I have always enjoyed the outdoors and being active, and I believe people should take more ownership of their environment. For me that naturally led to getting involved in BLCV.

 

What's the most important thing you've learned or realised through being part of BLCV? 
There's always something to do - against the never-ending force of nature or the action of people, there are always improvements to be made. And the rangers work so hard. 

 

Tell us something about yourself that your fellow volunteers might not know about you.
I couldn't tell you the names of more than a (tiny) handful of birds, butterflies and plants - but that's ok!

 

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV so far?
As I don't have one of my own, Bedfont Lakes has become like my garden, just on a very big scale!

 

One of the worst?
When people don't take care of the park, and worse, cause damage or destruction.

Clive - Bedfont Lakes conservation volunteer

Clive

Hi Clive! Tell us why you started coming to the volunteer days.

I came because I'd recently retired and wanted to take part in an outdoor activity in the area I live in.

 

Were you always interested in conservation? 

Yes, I was always interested in conservation and anything to do with nature activities. However, I'd never previously joined an organisation as a volunteer.

 

What's the most important thing you've learned or realised through being part of BLCV? 
My biggest surprise is that whatever you cut down or cut back is how fast it can all grow back again! 

Tell us something about yourself that your fellow volunteers might not know about you. 
After 10 years, there's not a lot that others don't know about me. They may not know that I've watched Brentford play in five finals and not won yet.

What has been one of the best things about your experience with BLCV?
It's a relaxed atmosphere whilst volunteering and you work within a team doing as much as you can or wish to. No-one worries about anyone taking a break or leaving at lunchtime.

One of the worst?
Hearing from the Rangers about some of the attacks on wildlife in the park.

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