BLOG: Get stuck in to volunteering this World Environment Day

20 May 2019

World Environment Day (5 June) falls within the same month as Volunteers Week (1 -7 June). This is a wonderful opportunity to combine the two and give a little of your time to helping to make a difference to the environment.

What is Volunteers Week?

Volunteers Week was set up by Volunteering England and started in 1984. Since then has encouraged thousands of people to donate their time to worthy causes.

At this time of year charities up and down the country hold events to celebrate the difference volunteering has made to their organisation, and the inspiring and generous nature of people giving their time and asking for nothing in return.

At City of Trees we are incredibly lucky to have benefitted from our amazing volunteers donating over 12,000 hours of their time since we started the movement.

From balsam and bramble bashing to litter picking, woodland creation, mulching and even moss planting – our volunteers have helped to make Greater Manchester greener.


Why is volunteering so beneficial?

Each year volunteers in the UK donate around 1.5 billion hours of their time to help good causes.

Volunteering makes a huge difference to charities worldwide, who depend on people’s kindness and dedication to help them to carry out their vital work.

Volunteers can enable charities to expand the scope and scale of their work and make a difference more effectively.

Volunteering is also hugely beneficial to the individual. It has been shown to increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and bolster confidence – with positive consequences all-round for mental and emotional health.

Volunteers learn new skills, helping with employability and work experience, especially for younger people. It can also combat loneliness – enabling volunteers who may not otherwise be able to get out of the house, meet new people and be part of something positive.

The ‘feel-good factor’ volunteering brings can give rise to a sense of personal pride and adds meaning, purpose and enrichment to lives of those who donate their time to worthy causes.  

The wonderful thing about volunteering is that it’s mostly open to everyone! Whether you have an hour, a day or a week to give, every second spent helping a charity is worthwhile. Most charities need volunteer support – so you’re sure to find a perfect match, whatever cause may be close to your heart.


Making a difference on World Environment Day (5 June)

2019 will perhaps be the most important year of all for this United Nations awareness day, which encourages worldwide awareness and action to help protect the planet we call home.

On the 1 May 2019 the UK became the first country to recognise a climate change emergency – whilst nations worldwide are beginning to recognise the devastating impact of destructive human influence on the environment, and the challenges faced in remedying these actions before it’s too late.

The day focuses on the individual, a ‘people’s day’ encouraging everyone to do their bit an make a difference – whether on a personal, local, national or global level.

On the 5 June events will take place around the world to mark World Environment Day, including conferences, parties, marches and festivals.

The campaign this year focuses on air pollution – an invisible issue that can be overlooked in the conversation about climate change and human impact on the planet. The good news is that the main causes of air pollution can be positively influenced by personal choice - such as switching to or eating more plant-based meals, investing in smarter or greener energy, using electric cars and recycling waste.

Trees and green infrastructure also play a role in combatting poor air quality. Our recent ‘All Our Trees’ project found that Greater Manchester’s trees act as a filtration system for harmful air pollutants – removing 847 tonnes of pollutants each year.

Volunteering with City of Trees

Here at City of Trees we are hugely grateful to the volunteers who come out and support us at our events and tree planting days. Recently we’ve expanded our volunteer programme, adding even more opportunities for people to get involved with the work we do.

Upcoming City of Trees led volunteer sessions for June include:

  • 3 June - Conservation work at Crompton Moor in Oldham
  • 4 June – Tree-LC in Wigan
  • 5 & 19 June – Habitat management at Kickety Brook in Trafford
  • 6 June – Woodland Management in Wythenshawe
  • 27 & 29 June – Nature-based activities at The Whitworth in Manchester

In addition to running volunteer sessions, City of Trees is joining forces with other nature organisations to celebrate the region’s wonderful wildlife by holding Manchester’s first ever Festival of Nature on 29 June in Heaton Park.

All events are advertised on the events page of our website – as well as social media channels /cityoftreesmcr

If you aren’t able to attend a volunteering session but would like to support our work, please donate today. Every £10 helps plant a tree.