Volunteering opportunities



Celebrating volunteers - The Lee brothers

Our volunteers are an essential part of our work, giving their time freely to make a difference for Suffolk's wildlife.

One of the most important jobs associated with conservation grazing is to regularly check livestock to ensure that their welfare needs are met.

On some of our isolated sites that are a considerable distance from any of our centres or Brooke House, checking can involve quite a lot of time and mileage. However, over the years Jane Barber, our Grazing Officer has built up a considerable group of trusted volunteer livestock checkers, many of whom live near the site they check, which saves both time and mileage.

Mickfield Meadow is one of our most isolated grassland sites and in the last couple of years we have been fortunate enough to have had the Lee brothers checking the sheep that aftermath graze the meadow.

The three elder brothers, James, Adam and Matthew are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards (D of E), with sheep checking last year helping them achieve Bronze. This year they are working towards Silver - so we increased the challenge accordingly - asking them to carry out pre- grazing checks such as assessing sward height and checking fence lines to make sure the meadow is ready and safe for the sheep to arrive. They will then be responsible for the daily checking of the sheep whilst they are on site.

During all this, James, Adam and Matthew have been ably helped by youngest brother Alexander, who is yet to embark on the D of E. However, we hope that if Alexander decides to go for the award, his experience checking the sheep will give him a head start. In addition to contributing to their D of E goals, we know from their positive feedback that all of the brothers really enjoy looking after the sheep and hope they have picked up some other valuable life skills along the way, both of which are a really important part of volunteering as well.

We have been really impressed by how helpful and how seriously all the boys have taken their role as seasonal shepherds and are very glad to be welcoming them back for a second year - they have really made the difference between it being feasible or not to aftermath graze Mickfield Meadow. Well done to you all and thanks.