You, Me, and Peat: A day with Scottish Wildlife Trust

Posted on September 29, 2015

On a wet, misty day, during a classic Scottish summer we visited our partners Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) at one of their nature reserves, Red Moss of Netherley. Just outside Aberdeen, this landscape is a thriving habitat of common toads, heather, raised peat bogs, and two enthusiastic ProjectScotland volunteers.

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The team take cover from a sudden downpour and give us a pose.

Duncan Budge, Reserves Project Officer, has been part of the team working in this area for over 20 years. He started with SWT as a volunteer before continuing on to a long and successful career within the organisation. His personal experience has clearly given him an amazing ethos when it comes to working with volunteers. He’s been described as “the best chief” a volunteer could ask for and often goes out of his way to plan unique and memorable experiences, such as, planning trips to see Scotland’s glorious landscapes.

Duncan’s passion and commitment is second to none, and it’s clear that volunteering plays a key part in the work that he does with SWT. “We rely on volunteers to help us – the more people means we can rescue more habitats. We’ve built dams at Red Moss to slow drainage and create flooding, which will rejuvenate the peat bogs. It’s the kind of work that we won’t see the benefit of for years to come, but that makes it no less important. We need to act now.”

Klemen Kamenik, Conservation Volunteer.

Klemen Kamenik, Conservation Volunteer.

Volunteering is a huge part of SWT as a whole. Rab Potter, Nature Reserve Manager for the East of Scotland, also joined the organisation as a volunteer in 1992. “Most of the staff on our reserves are former volunteers,” he tells us “people understand what they’re doing is valuable and it’s created a great culture for supporting young people looking to get involved in conservation.”

Stefan, told us about the range of work he’d been involved in as part of the reserve maintenance team. “We’ve built dams, put up fencing, cleared pathways, tackled invasive species, planted trees… loads!” When asked what this experience meant for him he told us “it’ll make me a stronger candidate for jobs, I want to work in conservation and Duncan has been a great person to work with – he’s shown us a bit of everything.”


Stefan Van Damme, Conservation Volunteer.

Klemen, another volunteer, pointed out the practical side conservation volunteering. “You need to like being outside and getting your hands dirty. It’s great being involved in something that’ll make a difference. I have a degree in forestry so this experience has helped me put that to practical use.”

Klemen and Stefan are just 2 of over 240 ProjectScotland volunteers that SWT have supported since our partnership stated in 2006. We’re proud to call SWT one of our biggest charity partners and are really excited they’re celebrating our tenth birthday with us.

To discover more about SWT and the work they do, you can visit them here.


We’re celebrating 10 years of supporting young peopleweare10logo1 towards brighter futures. Find out more about our work.