Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has held its Volunteer Awards 2023 ceremony.
The awards celebrate the achievements of volunteers in conservation, land management and education across Wiltshire and Swindon.
It was the first time that a volunteer celebration event had been held since the outbreak of the pandemic three years ago.
The event was a huge success, with volunteers travelling to Devizes Town Hall from across Wiltshire to meet fellow nature lovers and celebrate the winners’ achievements.
The host was Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s new CEO, Joanna Lewis, who opened the ceremony by showing a video summarising the Trust’s achievements throughout the year and highlighting the vital contribution that volunteers have made to nature conservation and education in Wiltshire.
Joanna Lewis said:
“We have many amazing, dedicated volunteers, some of whom have worked with us for decades, bringing a huge amount of enthusiasm and offering a range of skills and experience. They are an inspiration to us all. Without them, we couldn’t achieve all that we do for wildlife and people.”
Since June 2022, 14,440 volunteering hours have been recorded by more than 1,500 volunteers of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Habitat work ranged from wildlife surveying, litter picking, scrub clearance and coppicing at nature reserves and green spaces across Wiltshire, to river pollution monitoring and invasive plants removal from river banks.
Volunteers have also been assisting Head Office staff with key administrative tasks and supporting the Trust’s education team, with more volunteers than ever before leading outdoor Wildlife Watch groups to help children and families engage with nature.
The award winners were:
- Volunteer Group of the Year: Biss Wood Volunteer Group
- Volunteer Leader of the Year: Simon Wicks and Trudy Lewis
- Young Volunteer of the Year: Tyron Holmes
- Volunteers of the Year: Nathan Jenkyn, Phil Clarke and Kat Bennett
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Debbie and Andrew Carter, who have been volunteering at Oysters Coppice nature reserve for more than 35 years.
Those who nominated the couple said: “They have both shown exceptional dedication for more than 20 years as reserve wardens and task leaders at Oysters Coppice nature reserve, in addition to another 15 years before as volunteers.
"Now, they continue to assist the current task leaders and warden, with kindness and attention to all new and old volunteers. They are incredibly kind and knowledgeable yet humble people.”
To find out more about volunteering for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and to register for new opportunities, people can visit: https://volunteering.wiltshirewildlife.org
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