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Get Involved...

Volunteers are at the heart of KCFC. Their input is invaluable and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

We’re always on the lookout for more people to get involved. There’s a role for everyone, young or old, fit or not-so-fit, skilled or unskilled. It’s not all path-building and brush-cutting! Volunteers can help in loads of other ways, from developing educational resource packs to supporting our marketing efforts to sharing their knowledge about the heritage of the forest.

We firmly believe that volunteering is a two-way relationship and we want to make sure that volunteers gain from the experience too, whether that’s building skills for future employment, meeting new people or just spending in the great outdoors. Whatever you’re skills and whatever your motivations for volunteering, we’ll have the volunteer role for you.

Here are a few of the exciting initiatives that need your help.

Heritage Walk
Last summer a team of archaeologists and volunteers carried out a survey of the forest, identifying features including a curling pond, reservoirs and an ancient drovers’ route. We now want to create a looped walk through the forest that takes in all these features. We want to get as many people as possible involved in the design and creation of this walk and there are all sort of opportunities for involvement. We’d love to hear people’s stories about the curling pond and the reservoir to help us develop our interpretation and we also need lots of hands-on path building support.

Froglife Project
The Froglife Project will appeal to people with an interest in biodiversity and wildlife. We plan to install three new ponds in partnership with the Scottish Dragon Finder Project to improve habitats. We’ll be organising volunteer days to create hibernacula (safe places for amphibians and reptiles to overwinter) from wood and pond spoil. And when the ponds are complete, we’ll need volunteers to monitor the amphibian and reptile populations.

Trees
This autumn, we’ll also need volunteers to help us collect native tree seeds to send to the Kew Gardens National Seed Bank, which aims to establish a national tree seed collection for long-term conservation. We are also going to be identifying, marking and protecting our native regeneration seedlings, we have spotted oak, rowan and birch all over the forest and we want to keep the deer off them to give them a chance to grow.

Developing the forest
If you love getting outdoors and being active, then there are plenty of opportunities to get stuck in. We plan to create two wild camping sites in the forest and we need volunteers to help us clear the undergrowth and brush in these areas. We’re also planning to set up a geocaching trail in the forest. We always need people to help create and clear paths, build structures and generally help to develop the forest’s infrastructure and facilities.

BUILDING SKILLS AND CREATING OPPORTUNITY
We want to transform KCFC into a hub for learning, providing opportunities for people from all backgrounds to gain useful, relevant qualifications, skills and experience.

Youth Skills Development
This hugely successful project, now in its second year, introduces young people to working in the forest and provides them with invaluable skills and experience. Running for four weeks in the summer, around ten people aged 15 to 18 get stuck into everything from path-building to creating a forest shelter. It’s a brilliant way for young people to gain experience, notch up valuable land-based skills and give their CVs a boost.

Volunteer For Skills
We’ve worked closely with a number of local organisations, including HELP, the Community Payback Scheme and the Dunoon Job Centre, offering volunteering opportunities to people who are out of work or having to fulfil community service hours, as well as for those who simply want to develop their forest management skills. We’re in the process of developing a comprehensive training programme for volunteers, to gain training in areas such as chainsaw, wood chipping, carving and first aid, in exchange for their generous volunteer hours at the forest. One volunteer, Declan Reilly, said: ‘I really enjoyed helping out at Kilfinan. I love working outdoors and am planning to train as a Forester. The experience that I have gained here will be really useful when I apply for jobs and college courses.’

If you would like to get involved in any of these projects, or would like to volunteer in any other way, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Mick Eyre our Forest Access Coordinator, on 01700 811159 or at michael@kilfinancommunityforest.com.

We’re currently working towards the John Muir Awards Discovery Challenge, a nationally recognised scheme that encourages people to connect, enjoy and care for wild places.’

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The Kilfinan Community Forest Company
Registered Office: Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll PA21 2BD, Scotland | Company No: 333208 | Charity No: SCO38908
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