What you can do

In this section:


We all have a responsibility for protecting the future of this planet and passing it on to future generations but we often don’t know what to do or feel overpowered by the scale of the problems and think (wrongly) that we cannot make a difference. A single person can, however, make a huge difference, as an individual or collectively. The following information will help you to make the connections between our daily actions and the impact these have on the planet, and provides quick easy steps that we can all take to help biodiversity, locally and globally.



Take action - In your area

Volunteer with a local wildlife group or conservation organisation. Conservation volunteering offers a wide variety of work, and it’s an excellent way to learn new skills, stay fit and healthy and meet like-minded people.

Bestwood Country Park

Bestwood Country Park offers a wide range of events and activities throughout the year. For more details phone: 0115 9273674

Email: bestwood.country.park@nottscc.gov.uk
Web: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/enjoying/countryside/countryparks/bestwood

Canal & River Trust

Contact Canal & River Trust at The Kiln for more information on conservation task days and events, call Richard Bennett: 01636 675745

The Conservation Volunteers - TCV

TCV supports 140,000 volunteers a year taking hands-on action to improve their urban and rural environments, and a Community Network supports local groups. TCV offers regular conservation tasks, UK and International conservation holidays, the TCV Green Gym®, training opportunities and an on-line shop making products and services available to all.

For information on how to volunteer with TCV or to find out how your group could benefit from the TCV Community Network:

Tel: 0115 931 3316
Email: nottinghamshire@btcv.org.uk
Web: www.tcv.org.uk

Greenwood Community Forest

There are many opportunities for volunteering in Greenwood, Nottinghamshire’s Community Forest. Visit our website at www.greenwoodforest.org.uk, or request a Friends of Greenwood Directory of Volunteering Opportunities for further information.

Funding is available for community tree planting events from September to February each year. If you are a community group with an idea for a project please contact us and we will try to help with funding if possible. The newly published Community Woodland Handbook is a great resource for groups who are, or want to be involved in woodlands and green spaces.

Tel: 01623 758231
Email: greenwood@nottscc.gov.uk
Web: www.greenwoodforest.org.uk

Nottingham City Council

We are responsible for and manage many varied areas of greenspace from heathland to river corridors. Our Nature Conservation Team can provide advice about managing habitatsfor biodiversity, and opportunities for volunteering. Advice about biodiversity and development is provided by the Council's planning section. For more information visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

As a voluntary organisation the efforts of volunteers are key to our success and there are many ways in which people can get involved ranging from office based administration to practical work on nature reserves. We also have a network of active Local Members’ Groups who help to co-ordinate volunteer efforts around the County. Local activities include walks, talks, fundraising events and monitoring local sites to ensure that wildlife habitats are not damaged or destroyed.

For further details about the work of the Wildlife Trust and how you can help us do more to protect wildlife in your area call: 0115 958 8242 or visit www.wildlifetrust.org.uk

Rufford Country Park

A wide range of volunteering opportunities, events and activities are available throughout the year at Rufford Country Park.

For more information call the ranger team: 01623 822944

Email: info.rufford@nottscc.gov.uk
Web: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/enjoying/countryside/countryparks/rufford

Sherwood Forest Community Rangers

Volunteers work on a range of projects including regular practical conservation tasks, acting as eyes and ears for our woodlands, wildlife/visitor surveys, assisting on events and leading guided walks. We also offer a Shadow Ranger voluntary apprenticeship scheme for those interested in pursuing a career in the countryside and environmental sector.
Why not find out more on www.forestry.gov.uk/eastmidlandsvolunteering

Sherwood Forest County Park

Join a dedicated band of merry volunteers on monthly task days in ancient Sherwood Forest. Your chance to do your bit for this internationally important site whilst learning new skills. Contact the Ranger Team: 01623 823202

Find out more at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/enjoying/countryside/countryparks/sherwood

Help with surveys and record keeping

You don’t need to be an expert to help with recording the biodiversity of Nottinghamshire. Contact Nottinghamshire Biological and Geological Records Centre to find out about volunteering: 0115 915 3909 www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk or contact Michael Walker at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust: 0115 958 8242

Become a volunteer warden

Volunteer wardening can help to protect sites from damage and provide invaluable sources of information, from species records to how the sites are regularly used. Sherwood Forest Community Rangers operate a volunteer warden scheme: 01623 822447. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust need volunteer wardens to monitor their sites: 015 958 8242 or visit www.wildlifetrust.org.uk

Join a local environmental group. A list of ‘Friends of’ groups in the Greenwood Community Forest is available at: www.greenwoodforest.org.uk

Shadow Ranger Placements

These voluntary work placements involve shadowing local countryside staff for 6 months, 1-3 days a week, gaining experience in practical conservation, wildlife surveys, environmental education and much more. This placement is run in partnership between Forestry Commission, Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Greenwood Community Forest.

Why not find out more on www.forestry.gov.uk/eastmidlandsvolunteering


Nature in your area

Find out about nature conservation, special sites and current projects in your part of the county:

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Biodiversity and our homes

Our homes and our lifestyles have huge impacts on the environment, but the link between our homes and biodiversity isn’t always that clear…

If everyone on the planet consumed natural resources and generated as much carbon dioxide at the rate we consume in the UK, we would need three planets to support us.

Follow these simple tips to make a difference:

  • Reduce household pollutants: avoid buying toxic household products, which often end up in the sea, contaminate water supplies and damage the health of humans and wildlife. Use biodegradable plant-based cleaning products, now available at most supermarkets. For more ways to take action, see WWF’s chemicals and health campaign: www.wwf.org.uk
  • Dispose of household chemicals, waste oil and paint correctly: never dispose of chemicals, including paints, down the drain but use your local council’s disposal facilities.
  • Bag it and bin it: don’t flush it! Put sanitary waste and wrappings, facial wipes, disposable nappies, condoms, cotton buds, razors, incontinence pads and other sanitary items in the dustbin or you might see them again next time you go to the beach or for a river-side walk, posing a health risk to wildlife and humans. See the national bag it and bin campaign: www.water.org.uk/home/resources-and-links/bagandbin
  • Look out for the European Union Ecolabel: awarded to products meeting high environmental standards.
  • Reduce your carbon dioxide outputs: use energy saving lightbulbs, chose energy efficient electrical goods, buy green electricity, switch off lights and don’t leave computers/ TVs on stand-by, use public transport, a bike or walk instead of taking the car, insulate your house, turn down the thermostat. All of these measures will save you money in cheaper electricity bills! For more information see WWF’s climate chaos campaign www.wwf.org.uk
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle: stops our rubbish going to landfill, saves energy (reducing greenhouse gasses), saves resources and doesn't cost us anything. For more see Waste Online’s guide to ‘recycling and beyond’ for householders: www.wasteonline.org.uk
  • Buy recycled: In order for recycling schemes to be successful, there must be a market for recycled products. Look out for packaging and products that indicates the percentage of post consumer waste along with the recycling symbol. For a list of symbols you may see and what they mean, see Waste Online’s packaging info sheet: www.wasteonline.org.uk
  • Compost kitchen scraps and garden waste. In the UK around 30 million tonnes of domestic refuse is produced each year, which contains about 38% organic content, such as vegetable peelings, tea bags and food scraps. In 2002-2003, almost 78% of municipal waste in the UK ended up in landfill sites. In England, breakdown of the organic materials within a landfill is the main source of the greenhouse gas methane. Landfills released 20% of the UK's methane emissions in 2002. Methane traps over 21 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide. Home composting cuts down on transport costs and uses the waste where it is generated with very little environmental impact. For a ‘how to’ guide to home composting and details of where you can buy cheap composters, see Notts County Council’s composting pages: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk

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Biodiversity and our gardens

Gardens can provide rich habitats for wildlife. Gardening for biodiversity does not mean an untidy, ‘wild’ patch. There are many simple steps you can take to make your garden more attractive for wildlife:

  • Create a wildlife pond, preferably without fish. If you don’t have space for a pond provide a bird bath. Even small bodies of water can attract frogs and toads, which will return the favour by keeping slugs and other pests in check.
  • Compost waste: as well as reducing the burden on landfill sites, compost heaps can provide valuable habitat for wildlife in their own right, and may provide a quiet, warm home for slow worms, and a range of invertebrates.
  • Provide nectar-rich plants throughout the year to encourage bees, butterflies and other insects. For a list of suitable species see the Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society's Wild About Gardens website: www.wildaboutgardens.org
  • Provide plants that attract moths: this will, in turn attract bats, and add an extra dimension to your garden at night with their strong fragrance and luminous flowers. For a list of plants see the RHS top ten plants for a night-time garden: www.rhs.org.uk
  • Plant ivy and other climbing plants up fences and walls to provide nesting habitat for birds and over-wintering sites for invertebrates.
  • Select trees and shrubs that produce berries to provide food sources for birds.
  • Avoid chemicals such as slug pellets, fertilisers and herbicides
    Avoid peat: using peat in our gardens destroys peat bogs, a sensitive and threatened European habitat.
  • Leave seed heads through winter: this provides sources of seed for birds, and the stems can be used as sites for hibernation by insects.
  • Create a log pile: for invertebrates to inhabit. Log piles can also be used by other animals to hibernate in.
  • Put up bird and bat boxes, and provide bird feeders. See the RSPB guide - how to make a nest box: www.rspb.org.uk
  • Take part in the BTO’s garden birdwatch www.bto.org and the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch www.rspb.org.uk
  • Garden organically.

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Biodiversity and the food we buy

The food that we buy and eat has a huge impact on the health of the environment. The earth’s biodiversity is the source of all of our food, from vegetables to fish and meat. 75% of the world’s crops are pollinated by bees, wasps, and other small animals. Natural predators and parasites keep pest species in check and soil organisms keep soils productive.

Making small changes in the food that we buy can have an enormous impact on Biodiversity. Consumer-power shapes how our food is produced and the types of food available to us.

What you can do

  • Buy locally-produced food: not only will it taste better as it will be fresher, the distance it has travelled will be shorter and so pollutants including CO2 outputs resulting from transporting the food are lower. Locally-sourced fruit and veg is less likely to have been sprayed with pesticides after harvest. Buying locally supports local farmers and the local economy. For details of farmers markets in your areas see the Food Initiatives Group: www.groundworkgreaternottingham.org.uk
  • Buy organic: by choosing organic food, you can have a huge impact on the environment. Organic foods are produced without the use of harmful pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers and animals are given natural diets and kept to strict welfare standards. For more on Organic food, see the Soil Association www.soilassociation.org.uk. For a list of local organic suppliers see the Food Initiatives Group (FIG) www.groundworkgreaternottingham.org.uk
  • Buy Fairtrade: some of our favourite foods (such as coffee, tea and chocolate) cannot be sourced locally. Fairtrade producers make a commitment to better environmental standards and working towards sustainable production.
  • Avoid over-exploited species: nearly 70% of the world’s fish stocks are now fully fished, over-fished, or depleted. In the North Sea, many previously common species such as cod, haddock, skate and plaice are now over-fished and in the case of cod, stocks are on the verge of commercial collapse, whilst common skate is virtually extinct. The Marine Conservation Society FISHONLINE www.fishonline.org website can help you identify which fish are from well managed sources and/or caught using methods that minimise damage to marine wildlife and habitats. Download the Marine Conservation Society’s Pocket Good Fish Guide www.fishonline.org
  • Avoid goods with excess packaging: avoid individually packaged items or items with too much packaging. Express your concerns with supermarket managers, explaining why you have not purchased a particular item.
  • Take reusable cloth bags: using a reusable bag 5 times displaces the pollution that results from the production of one plastic bag. Recycle or reuse plastic bags that you have.
  • Grow your own organic food: home-grown fruit and vegetables are cheap, healthy, nutritious and fresh; growing your own provides exercise and helps to put you back in touch with nature www.groundworkgreaternottingham.org.uk

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Biodiversity and shopping

What we buy and where we buy it from has a huge impact on our environment. It affects the demands on the earth’s resources, how the products are made and ultimately how they are disposed of.

What you can do

  • Ensure that wood products you buy feature the Forest Stewardship Council logo that allows consumers to identify wood and wood-based products from well-managed forests. www.fsc-uk.org
  • Avoid disposable products: instead, buy durable products that you can reuse. If something breaks, fix it instead of replacing it.
  • Avoid products derived from endangered species: do not buy plants or animals taken from the wild. When on holiday, do not buy trinkets or other goods made from coral, tortoise-shell or other plant or animal products.
  • Use the Good Shopping Guide online ethical shopping tool GOOSHING: www.gooshing.co.uk which makes it easy to buy brands from the most responsible companies at the cheapest price and boycott those companies that don’t care about animal welfare, human rights or the environment.
  • Chose fuel-efficient cars which produce less emissions: www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk
  • For environmentally friendly alternatives to ordinary household goods see Natural Collection, www.naturalcollection.com Greenchoices www.greenchoices.org and the Green Shop www.greenshop.co.uk

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Schools and Youth Clubs

Local opportunities

There are many opportunities and resources in Nottinghamshire for schools and youth groups to get involved and learn about the natural world around them.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that every child should have the opportunity to experience the wonders of the natural environment. Their hands-on outdoor environmental education programmes give kids an unforgettable experience out of the classroom. The programme is aligned with the national curriculum, bringing learning to life whilst adding value to the child's overall education experience. The Trust's education programme also now includes a wide range of activities at the Attenborough Nature Centre.

See www.wildlifetrust.org.uk for more

Greenwood Environmental Experience

As well as resource packs which are curriculum-based, the Greenwood team can offer environmental experience workshops to suit your needs. These are free fun informal visits linked to the curriculum and take place on many of the countryside sites within Greenwood, Nottinghamshire’s Community Forest.

Sites in the past have included Vicar Water Country Park and Tippings Wood in Newark & Sherwood, Portland Park, Brierley Forest Park and Jacksdale Nature Reserve in Ashfield, The Carrs and Quarry Lane Walkway in Mansfield, and Moor Pond Wood, Newstead Village and Mapperley Walkway in Gedling.

Greenwood Community Tree Planting Grants are available every year from September to February to enable schools to plant in their grounds or wider community. The maximum grant is £200.

Please contact the Greenwood team on 01623 758231 if you are interested in the above.


Groundwork works with children in and out of schools, provides training and support for teachers to deliver environmental education, facilitating access to new opportunities and new experiences, providing lifelong learning opportunities, broadening horizons and changing behaviours. They also work alongside teachers, pupils and the wider community to make the most of school grounds and to unlock their potential as environments for learning, creative play and wildlife

Groundwork Greater Nottingham:www.eastmidlands.groundwork.org.uk/greater-nottingham.aspx
Groundwork Cresswell, Ashfield and Mansfield: www.groundwork.org.uk

Sherwood Forest Trust

Sherwood Forest has great potential as an outdoor classroom. The Sherwood Forest Trust provides information and advice on visiting Sherwood and making the most of your visit. Their website has an excellent section on education providing an on-line searchable education database and an interactive education map of the area available at: www.sherwoodforest.org.uk

Sherwood Forest Community Rangers

Fun in a Box

These boxes contain exciting outside activities that make learning about wildlife and the environment interesting and enjoyable. They contain all you need to lead a range of countryside based activities.  Titles range from kite flying to minibeast hunting and shelter building to paper making. The activities are tailored to complement the National Curriculum and are useful teaching aids. There are 17 titles to borrow, all aimed at helping groups explore the natural world—whether it be outdoors or indoors. There is something for everyone.  What’s more, youth leaders, teachers and other interested adults can gain free training in the use of the boxes, health and safety issues, and setting up and leading a group.

So how do you borrow them? Just fill in a registration form and send it back along with a cheque for £30.  Then borrow as many boxes as you want in two years.  The boxes are stored at the Forestry Commission District Office in Sherwood Pines Forest Park.

For a registration form or to find out more contact;

Amy Chandler, Forestry Commission Sherwood,Sherwood District Office, Edwinstowe, Mansfield, NG21 9JL. Telephone:01623 822447 or visit www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7bbfux.

National schemes

Eco Schools

Eco schools is a great way to make sustainable development a part of the life and ethos of your school. Designed to fit into the curriculum, it's an award scheme that gets everyone in the school community involved in making the school environment better. www.eco-schools.org.uk

Learning through landscapes

The national school grounds charity www.ltl.org.uk

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There are many ways that companies can get involved with biodiversity and make a difference. Doing something for biodiversity doesn’t need great resources. Activities can range from raising employee awareness of biodiversity and managing environmental impacts responsibly, to enhancing the conservation value of habitats on landholdings and sponsoring threatened species or local conservation projects, events or organisations.


In Nottinghamshire, environmentally responsible businesses can receive recognition through Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s GREEN GUARDIANS awards.

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Local Authorities

Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group and Nottinghamshire County Council have produce a good practice guide suggesting practical ideas for incorporating biodiversity into local government service. “Building Biodiversity into Local Government Practice” is available to download here or paper copies are available by contacting the Biodiversity Officer.

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Biodiversity is the variety of life | Copyright © 2006 Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group