CAT volunteer EunKyung Shin (pictured, axe in hand) has been helping in our woodlands since the winter. Here she recounts the challenges and joys of getting to grips with woodland management.
Choosing to be a woodland volunteer can be a bit of a tough decision to make. It’s not always easy cutting, pruning and coppicing trees in traditional ways, using body power alone, using sharp and heavy tools. I still remember the feeling when I first heard the gut-wrenching sound of a huge firewood cross cut chop saw in use; however, volunteering with the woodland team at CAT soon taught me to be confident and capable whilst using these tools.
It also took me to some of the best places on site, such as the quarry hill, which has stunning views and wonderful fresh air. This always fills my body and soul up with happiness, and makes me realise that this area of Wales is truly peaceful and a beautiful part of the UK. Other great experiences for me were discovering a wood mouse having his lunch on a tiny leaf, and being silent to listen to the sound of birds singing – these are hidden gems in the woodland.
There are many benefits to being a woodland volunteer. You will learn practical skills with instruction and guidance in the woods as you work, plus you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing what you have achieved with your hands on the site. You will see people walking along the Quarry trail in CAT’s woodland, which you will have given a hand to build and grow under the bright sunshine, surrounded by glorious green.
As for company, you will meet many people, with a range of backgrounds from across the UK, or even all the way from Korea like me. Many people at CAT are interested in sustainable ways of living and woodland folk particularly, of course, in sustainable woodlands. You will likely enjoy all sorts of conversations and getting to know about others’ diverse ideas, experiences and approaches, and also working with a team, making decisions together.
Lastly, as a long-term volunteer in CAT, you can take two short courses free of charge. I took ‘Hydroelectricity’ and ‘Sustainable Woodland Management’, which I’ll be able to use in my future work – a useful bonus of volunteering! The woodland course especially gave me inspiration on how to begin to approach forestry management in a sustainable way – I had no idea of about this when I first arrived.
There is no reason not to be a volunteer at CAT. It will be a great opportunity in your life – you will learn new skills, meet new people, and have an opportunity to explore a truly beautiful place. Please come and join us in the Woodland Team and be a part of CAT and its history!
Fancy joining our team of fantastic volunteers? We have positions for long-term residential volunteers and for regular local/day volunteers. Read more and get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org / 01654 705955.